Caster Semenya ran the fourth-fastest women’s 800m ever, stepping on the gas like never before to clock 1:54.25, a personal best by .91, at a Diamond League stop in Paris on Saturday.
Only Olympic and world silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba was within a half-second of Semenya after one lap, and the only runner within 1.83 seconds of her at the finish. Semenya dominated without the aid of a pacer.
Often during her nearly three-year undefeated streak, Semenya has held back in the first 600 meters before charging on the home stretch. Not this time.
She may be chasing the 35-year-old world record of 1:53.28 before a proposed IAAF rule limiting testosterone levels in female middle-distance runners would go into effect after this season. Semenya is challenging the rule to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“I am not a very emotional person, and I was always about chasing records,” Semenya said, according to the IAAF. “This season is about trying good things, new challenges and to see what you are capable of.”
Her time Saturday was the world’s fastest since Kenyan Pamela Jelimo‘s 1:54.01 on Aug. 29, 2008.
Full Paris Diamond League results are here.
The Diamond League moves to Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday with live coverage on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA at NBC Sports Gold.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nzaccardi