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Semenya under pressure to better Kratochvilova’s world record

MONACO – Caster Semenya extended her winning 800m streak to 38 races, getting ever closer to Jarmila Kratochvilova’s world record, but she’s under increasing pressure to produce the goods given the rapidly approaching introduction of testosterone rules that could diminish her performances.

In Friday’s high-quality Diamond League meet in Monaco, Semenya again delivered the type of race that promised to challenge the longest-standing individual world record in athletics.

Leading from gun to tape, the 27-year-old South African was in world record shape at 600 metres before fading down the home straight to eventually win in 1min 54.60sec.

“It was just fantastic!” beamed Semenya. “Only the last 100m were a little off for me.

“It was a long month of racing for me and now I need to rest. I feel that on my body.”

Semenya added: “I wanted to break 1:54 but maybe next time. I want to be consistent at this level. I wasn’t thinking about the world record and it wasn’t on my mind.”

Kratochvilova’s record of 1:53.28 was set in 1983, the same year the then 32-year-old Czech runner won the world 400 and 800m double.

Her feats, coming relatively late on in a track career, allied with her incredibly muscular physique spawned allegations of doping, but she has always maintained her innocence and put her success down to the vitamin B12.

Semenya has spent her career also under the spotlight thanks to her success and physique.

The South African is currently challenging the IAAF over controversial new rules track and field’s ruling body plan to introduce on November 1 on high testosterone levels in female athletes.

The double Olympic champion (2012, 2016) and three-time world champion (2009, 2011, 2017) is now unbeaten over the 800m since her elimination in the semi-finals of the 2015 worlds in Beijing.

AFP

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