There was no surprise in the women’s 800m as one of the most dominant women in global athletics took the victory with a dominating performance.
Caster Semenya of South Africa led from start to finish to reach the finish in 1:54.77, barely half a second off the national record she set in Paris earlier this year.
Semenya set a national record in finishing second in the 400m on Saturday, and she used the speed again on the first lap of the longer distance. At the bell she was timed in a blistering 55.93, already well clear of the Americas duo of Ajee Wilson from the US and Natoya Goule from Jamaica.
The South African eased off slightly over the next half lap, reaching 600 metres in 1:25.63, but she picked up the pace again. Untroubled by her opponents, she was nonetheless determined to run fast and after a final 200 metres of just over 29 seconds, she finished in what was the second best performance ever achieved at the World/ Continental Cup behind Ana Quirot’s 1:54.44 from 1989.
“Today was a fantastic race for me,” Semenya said in her post-race comments. “I kept the rhythm and went with the flow. I know I can do a 1:54 and under, so for next year I hope to do something special.”
The two Americas athletes had a close battle for the other podium positions. Wilson, who held the second place for nearly the entire race, held on to it despite Goule’s charge. The two also achieved top-quality times, albeit a long way behind the winner: Wilson was timed in 1:57.16, Goule in 1:57.36.
There were then significant gaps between the other finishers, with the Ukraine’s European champion Nataliya Pryshchepa fourth in 1:59.58 and New Zealander Angela Petty fifth in 2:01.26.