Caster Semenya led Team South Africa’s charge at the African Athletics Championships in Asaba, Nigeria this weekend. Photo: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa finished second at the African Athletics Championships in Asaba, Nigeria conceding the continental title from two years ago.

The team won a total of 30 medals arrows – nine gold, 13 silver and eight bronze – with Kenya finishing at the top thanks to their 11 gold medals. South Africa won the most medals at the championships.

Three-time world champion Caster Semenya led the charge bagging the 400-800m double gold. Yesterday she kept her unbeaten record of nearly three years in the two-lap event defending her title clocking one minute, 56.06 seconds (1:56.06).

She led the race from start to finish with perennial challenger Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi finish second with 1:57.97.

Caster has been a dominant force in her specialist two-lap event dipping below 1:55 twice this season. She posted the fourth fastest time of all time at the Paris Diamond League meeting in July posting a new national record of one minute, 54.25 seconds (1:54.25).

Semenya smashed Heide Seyerling’s 18-year-old 400m record when she became the first South African woman to duck below 50 seconds. She knocked 0.09s off the previous record clocking 49.96 seconds and now boast the South African 400m, 800m, and 1 500m records.

She became the first women in history to dip below 50 seconds, two minutes, and four minutes in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m respectively.

Semenya chopped 0.44s off the previous best she ran in Brussels back in 2016. 

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South Africa highlighted their status as a sprinting powerhouse claiming a gold-silver double in the 200m event. American-based speedster Ncincilili Titi raced to victory in the half-lap sprint with a time of 20.46.

Luxolo Adams shared the silver medal with Nigerian Divine Oduduru with an identical time of 20.60.

Race walker Lebogang Shange bagged the silver medal in the 20km event yesterday morning. He finished second behind Kenya’s Samuel Gathimba with a time of 1:25.24, just 11 seconds behind the winner.

Wenda Nel suffered her first defeat in three championships and had to settle for bronze in Nigeria. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Wenda Nel suffered her first defeat in three championships and had to settle for bronze in Nigeria. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

One-lap hurdles specialist Wenda Nel suffered her first defeat in three championships. She had to settle for the bronze medal clocking a pedestrian 57.04 with Nigerian Nathaniel Glory taking the spoils with 55.53.

In the men’s javelin throw Phil-Mar van Rensburg had to be content with the silver medal finishing behind former world champion Julius Yego of Kenya. Yego claimed victory with a best heave of 77.34m with Van  Rensburg bagging silver with 76.57m.

Some results were unavailable due to a lack of updates from organisers

The Star

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