Caster’s hectic run – Zurich, then Brussels
JOHANNESBURG: South African track phenom Caster Semenya will have to contend with a hectic travel schedule if she wants to earn both the women’s 800m and 1500m Diamond Trophies later this week.
She is looking to become the first female athlete to be crowned overall champion of the series in both events. But she will not only have to navigate past the best athletes in the respective events but will have to get from Zurich to Brussels hours after competing in the Swiss city.
Organisers have scheduled the two Diamond League finals a day after each other making it an obstacle race for athletes like Semenya.
The winner of each event will earn the Diamond Trophy and a US$50,000 winner’s cash prize. So Semenya could be walking away with a good pay day if she manages to get onto the podium in both events.
She has juggled between the 800m and the 1500m this season in the Diamond League while she has also raced the odd one-lap sprint.
The three-time world 800m champion broke the national 400m record at the African Athletics Championships in Nigeria earlier this month chopping 0.09s off the mark Heide Seyerling set in Sydney in 2000. In the process, she became the first woman in history to dip below 50 seconds, two minutes, and four minutes in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m respectively.
Semenya has been a dominant force in the two-lap event and would complete a three-year unbeaten run in the 800m should she win in Zurich. She posted the fourth fastest time of all time at the Paris meet in July with a new SA. record of 1min 54.25sec.
World champion Luvo Manyonga tops the long jump standings and will feel bullish about his chances of winning his second consecutive Diamond Trophy after his meet record of 8.53m in Birmingham last weekend.