Caster is ready to be ‘run off her feet’ to catch Budd’s record
Semenya qualified comfortably at the world championships, but believes her rivals will attack
Caster Semenya believes that she will have a chance to break Zola Budd’s 33-year-old record in the women’s 1,500m final at the world championships in London on Monday night.
Semenya qualified comfortably for the final by finishing third in her semifinal on Saturday evening in 4min 03.80sec.‚ a little slower than her 4:02.84 in the heats.
But the Olympic 800m champion believes her rivals — featuring Olympic 1,500m gold medallist Faith Kipyegon of Kenya‚ Ethiopia’s world record-holder Genzebe Dibaba‚ Dutch flyer Sifan Hassan and home favourite Laura Muir — will try to attack and run her off her feet. And that could get her inside the 4:01.81 Budd ran in Port Elizabeth in March 1984.
“I think that one will come in the final because I can see what they’re trying to do‚ they’re trying to stretch us‚” said Semenya‚ who ran her 4:01.99 personal best unchallenged, while winning the African title in Durban in 2016.
Semenya is SA’s next best chance to add to the two medals won by long-jumpers Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai on the second night of the showpiece on Saturday. SA’s best championship haul to date is four medals‚ with two golds‚ at Paris 2003. The team is already halfway there, with Semenya and Wayde van Niekerk still to compete in medal events.
Akani Simbine finished fifth in a historic men’s 100m final in London on Saturday‚ but then warned injury might force him out of the 200m.
He was one of three South Africans attempting doubles at the world championships‚ alongside Van Niekerk (400m-200m) and Semenya (1,500m-800m). But Simbine said his further participation was under threat‚ the result of a hip impingement that had affected him in the heats.
“I had a hip impingement. My hip wasn’t in line, so I was running in pain in the heats.”
Asked if he would be okay for the 200m heats on Monday morning‚ he replied: “We’ll see because I have to go deal with it now tonight and then tomorrow as well.”
Simbine’s fifth was the same position he managed at the 2016 Olympics‚ but ahead of him Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman spoiled Usain Bolt’s farewell party to give the US its first 100m gold-silver haul since 2001.