Caster Semenya caps her Commonwealth Games with gold double — and two records — after 800m win
Gold Coast — Caster Semenya notched up SA’s 13th gold medal in Gold Coast on Friday the 13th while Brakpan boytjie Martin Erasmus won the country’s first Commonwealth Games wrestling gold in 60 years.
Semenya won the 800m in a 1min 56.68sec Games record to secure her second gold at the Games.
Semenya‚ who won the 1500m earlier in the week‚ led from the front and was unchallenged as she stormed home first ahead of Kenya’s Margaret Wambui and Natoye Goule of Jamaica.
Her victory kept Team SA firmly in fifth position on the log‚ three gold medals ahead of New Zealand.
Erasmus won all four of his fights by technical superiority — his sport’s version of a knockout — including the final against India’s Mausam Khatri‚ his conqueror at the Commonwealth wrestling championships late in 2017.
"He was tough‚" Erasmus said later. "I think he had a knee injury. That’s not my problem."
In the semifinals he dispensed of Canada’s Jordan Steen‚ leaving him with an injury that required him to get his head bandaged. "I just wrestled with my head straight‚" Erasmus explained.
At the Cardiff Games in 1958‚ South African wrestlers won six of the nine titles on offer.
But the sport in SA has been in a slump since then‚ picking up only the occasional minor gong in this millennium.
Hanru Botha won the 74kg silver for SA on Thursday.
Erasmus‚ who was taught to wrestle by his father Rassie from the age of three‚ wasn’t overly fazed by the significance of his victory‚ saying he hadn’t even expected to win.
"No‚ I didn’t expect gold. I took it match by match and then succeeded‚" he said.
Erasmus‚ a car parts salesman‚ has no competitors in his weight category at the national championships because‚ according to one of his teammates‚ he’s too good — his opponents either go up to the next division or they drop down in weight.
So for practice he wrestles his stablemate‚ Michael Gaitskill‚ who competes in the 86kg competition here on Saturday.
He also wrestles his brothers‚ one of whom competed at a junior Commonwealth Games.
Erasmus said he no had special no plans to celebrate other than by returning home‚ but was insistent that he be quoted thanking his parents‚ siblings and fianceé Shané Symens.
"Please make sure my fianceé is there otherwise I’m in trouble. Please‚" he said.
The country’s hopes of winning 15 gold medals rest firmly on the men’s 4x100m relay on Saturday and the Blitzboks in the rugby sevens on Sunday.