South African Caster Semenya appears to be sprinting toward an Olympic gold medal and perhaps more controversy.
The 2012 Olympic silver medalist won an 800m in her fastest time since 2011 at a Diamond League meet in Rabat, Morocco, on Sunday.
Semenya clocked 1:56.64, coming off the final turn fighting for the lead and excelling past Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi to win by one second. Her blazing final straightaway (video here) was reminiscent of her victory in Doha on May 6.
“In training, we try to do tactical races and fast sessions,” Semenya said, according to the IAAF. “What you see here is the outcome of the training.”
Semenya is best known for a gender-testing controversy after winning the 2009 World title in 1:55.45, still her personal-best time.
The South African struggled since the London Games, failing to make the 2015 Worlds final, but has three of the four fastest 800m times in the world this year.
Semenya’s resurgence has come since a July decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that suspended for two years an IAAF ruling in 2011 that regulated women’s testosterone levels for competition eligibility.
Semenya has performed well at various times before the 2011 ruling, during the regulation period and now without the regulation.
Earlier Sunday, Olympic silver medalist Carmelita Jeter took fifth in the 100m in 11.32 seconds, her fastest time in three races since tearing a quad in the U.S. Championships final June 26. Jamaican Elaine Thompson won in 11.02 seconds into a 1.3 meters/second headwind.
Jeter, the second-fastest woman all time with a 10.64 from 2009, ranks outside the 25 fastest Americans this year. The 36-year-old will likely need to be sub-11 at the Olympic Trials on July 3 to make the Rio team individually.
Marquise Goodwin, one of at least five athletes with NFL experience eyeing Rio, finished third in the long jump while wearing a Buffalo Bills-themed uniform.
Goodwin, competing in his first Diamond League meet since 2012, still holds the farthest leap of the year at 8.45 meters.
Colombian Caterine Ibargüen extended the longest active streak in track and field with her 33rd straight triple jump win since she took silver at the London Olympics.
Beijing Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt won the 400m in 44.66, facing a field that did not include London Olympic champion Kirani James or reigning World champion Wayde van Niekerk.
Ethiopian World champion Almaz Ayana won the women’s 5000m in 14:16.31, the fifth-fastest of all time.
The Diamond League moves to Eugene, Ore., for the Prefontaine Classic on Friday and Saturday. NBC Sports will have coverage Saturday:
3:30-5 p.m. ET (NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra)
5-6 p.m. ET (NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra)
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