Caster Semenya, looking to put controversy over her true gender behind her, showed glimpses of her old self as she cruised into the final of the 800m at the World Championships. The 20-year-old South African defending champion clocked 1:58.07 in her semi-final, the fastest qualifying time.
She made her move after 600m, moving steadily through the field into the final stretch where she kept a safe distance from the chasing Ekaterina Kostetskaya of Russia.
Her main rivals, Russia’s Mariya Savinova and Kenyan Janet Jepkosgei, were second and third fastest.
Reigning world indoor and European champion Savinova timed her run to perfection in her heat, coming from the back of the pack at 600m to pip 2007 world champion Jepkosgei at the line. “I’m pleased because I wanted to qualify for the final,” said Jepkosgei, who is also reigning world silver medallist.
“I won the 800m in 2007 so I am going to do my best against my competitors, especially the Russians.”
Another Russian, Yuliya Rusanova, also impressed in winning her heat in 1:58.73, American Maggie Vessey beating Jennifer Meadows into third, meaning the British bronze medallist from Berlin missed out on a spot in the final.