In what was her first competitive race of the season, Caster Semenya further displayed that she can excel in any event she competes in, racing to a Personal Best (PB) of 9:36.29 to win the women’s 3000m at the ASA speed series 3 held at the McCarthur stadium in Potchefsroom, South Africa.
Known mainly for prowess in the 800m which she has won Olympic and World titles in, Semenya could be diversifying her versatility in other longer events, occasionally competing in the 1500m and also the 400m, with the 3000m the newest in her conquest.
The 2015 African Games double champion defeated Kesa Molotsane who was 2nd in 9:37.46 with Simonay Weitsz 3rd in 9:39.86.
Should Semenya decide to regularly compete in the 3000m, she will have to really better her PB by more than a minute to stand in the same stead as the Ethiopian duo of Almaz Ayana and Genzebe Dibaba who both have PBs way under 9 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the men’s 200m Akani Simbine clocked a time of 20.34s to win the event. Simbine last week ran a lifetime best of 19.95s to win in Pretoria and currently rank as the number 1 in the world in both the 100m and 200m.
Botswana’s Isaac Makwala finished 2nd in the race with a time of 20.62s while promising youngster, Clarence Munyai who last week ran an African Junior Record (AJR) finished 3rd in 20.67s.
After resting a bit, Makwala came back and raced to a Season’s Best (SB) of 45.75s to win Final A of the men’s 400m, narrowly piping Pieter Conradie to nick the win. It was a time that was 0.25s shy of the World Championships’ automatic qualification time of 45.50s.
In fact, both Conradie clocked the same time of 45.75s, but the more experienced Makwala had a better reaction time. Leaname Maotoanong was 3rd in 46.71s.
Earlier on in Final C of the men’s 400m, Karabo Sibanda had clocked an SB of 45.08s to beat his compatriot Nkobolo Onkabetse who was 2nd in 45.95s. Oscar Mavundla was 3rd in 46.75s.
Sibanda led the way this year with a World Lead of 45.26s, which was surpassed by another Botswana athlete, Baboloki Thebe who clocked 44.89s.
Of the 11 athletes topping the rankings this year in the men’s 400m, four are from Botswana. It will be foolhardy not to rate them as contenders for a medal in the 4x400m at the World Relays or the World Championships in London.
Even in the women’s 400m, Botswana is making their presence felt with Lydia Jele who is currently number 3 in the world, racing to a time of 52.08s to win the Final A. Her fellow countrywoman, Christine Botlogetswe finished 2nd in 52.75s with South Africa’s Wenda Nel 3rd in 52.78s.
You can click here to get all the results from the ASA speed series 3