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Semenya breaks her own 1500m record despite controversy

May 05, 2018 15:58 IST

Caster Semenya

IMAGE:  South Africa's Caster Semenya celebrates after winning the women's 1500m.Photograph: Ibraheem Al Omari/Reuters

Caster Semenya put aside the controversy over a planned rule change in athletics regarding hyperandrogenism to win the women's 1,500 metres and break her own South African record time at the Diamond League meeting in Doha on Friday.


Semenya won in a world leading time of three minutes and 59.92 seconds ahead of Nelly Jepkosgei of Kenya and Habitam Alemu of Ethiopia. She set a national and Commonwealth Games record of 4:00.71 in winning the gold medal last month.

The South African has been in the spotlight after the sport's governing IAAF approved an eligibility rule to limit the advantage of female athletes who, like Semenya, have naturally higher than normal levels of testosterone.

The International Association of Athletics Federations last week confirmed new rules, starting from Nov. 1, which effectively give Semenya a choice of taking medication to restrict her testosterone or move to longer distance events.

The double Olympic and triple world 800 metres champion did not let the controversy affect her performance on a dominant evening for Africans in the middle distance events as Kenya swept the podium in the men's 800m.

Emmanuel Korir blasted away from his compatriots on the final strait to win in a time of 1:45.21. Elijah Manangoi finished second with Nicholas Kipkoech in third.

There was a tight finish in the women's 3,000m as Kenya again ruled the track. Caroline Kipkirui finished four tenths of a second ahead of compatriot Agnes Tirop after a tense final lap in the evening heat, with Hyvin Kiyeng coming third.

Commonwealth Games 400m champion Isaac Makwala failed to reproduce his Gold Coast form as he finished third in a race won by Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas in a national record of 43.87 seconds, with Qatar's Abdalleleh Haroun coming home second.

Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast won the women's 100m in a personal best of 10.85 seconds, beating 2016 Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica who was third with Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor finishing second.

American 20-year-old Noah Lyles won the men's 200m in a meeting record of 19.83 seconds with world champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey finishing third.

American Sandi Morris won the women's pole vault with Britain's Holly Bradshaw coming second.

There were also wins in the men's events for Pedro Pablo Pichardo of Cuba in the triple jump and home athlete Mutaz Essa Barshim in the high jump.

Coleman wants to be one of the best

Christian Coleman isn't planning on letting up on his blistering start to sprinting in 2018.

After wiping out the 20-year-old 60 metres world record and winning the world indoor title, the young American has loaded up his outdoor schedule with nine Diamond League meetings as he seeks top honours in both the 100 and 200 metres.

"I want to be looked at as one of the greatest sprinters of all-time. With that comes running both events," the 22-year-old world 100 metres silver medallist told Reuters from his Knoxville, Tennessee base.

The races are almost evenly divided between the 100 and 200 with Coleman considering doing both in his season-opening appearance at the May 25-26 Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting in Oregon.

His quest comes as athletics looks for ways to fill the void left by retired world record holder and multiple Olympic and world champion Usain Bolt.

Coleman, Canada's triple Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse, South African 400 metres world record holder Wayde van Niekerk and American Noah Lyles, the 300 metres global record holder, all are among the young front runners.

World 100 metres champion Justin Gatlin, who defeated Coleman and Bolt for the gold, also is back and expecting another top-notch season .

"There are so many guys that they are talking about that may be the 'next one' or may be the next Bolt," Coleman said. "That whole conversation is exciting to me and really humbling."

Based on his 6.34 second 60 metres record, the fast-starting Coleman could be looking at running the 100 metres in a personal best 9.7 seconds this year, former holder Maurice Greene told Reuters.

Only seven sprinters have run faster, including Bolt whose world record is 9.58 seconds.

But Coleman seldom talks times, at least publicly.

"I never really set any time goals," he said. "I think that puts a limit on yourself. When you set a time and you hit that time, you are kind of satisfied. I never want to have that type of feeling."

China's Liang betters women's 50km walk record at first attempt

China's Liang Rui took more than a minute off the world record for the women's 50km walk in Taicang on Saturday, claiming gold at the world racewalking team championships in what was her maiden outing in the endurance event.

The 23-year-old, who will win $ 50,000 once the record is ratified, clocked four hours, four minutes and 35 seconds to top the podium and better the mark of 4:05:56 that Inez Henriques recorded in London last year.

Henriques's time had earned her the first gold medal to be awarded in the event at the world athletics championships after the women's race was a late addition to the schedule.

The Portuguese world champion dropped out of Saturday's race before the 30km mark to leave Liang to forge on through the drizzle and claim victory four and a half minutes clear of compatriot Yin Hang, who also won silver in London last year.

Australia's Claire Tallent finished third for bronze in what was also her first attempt at the distance, which was first listed as a world record event in August 2015 as the IAAF looked to ensure equal competition opportunities for men and women.

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