Delivering a spectacular kick on the final lap, Caster Semenya chased down nearly the entire field to earn the bronze medal in the women’s 1 500m final on Monday night, on day four of the IAAF World Championships in London.
A relatively unknown prospect in the metric mile, the 800m specialist again displayed her remarkable talent across a variety of distances, dipping on the line to end third in 4:02.90 in a sprint finish.
“I’m really happy with the bronze,” said Semenya, who was due to chase another medal in the 800m event later in the week.
“Obviously a lot can not go your way in a final, so to come out with a bronze is amazing.
“I was hoping for a better time, but the 1 500m is a tactical race. I tried to find my own space but fortunately I managed to get away with the bronze.”
Earlier, in the men’s 200m heats, there was no trouble for sprinters Wayde van Niekerk and Akani Simbine.
Van Niekerk won his first-round contest in 20.16 and Simbine, who had finished fifth in the 100m final despite battling with a hip niggle, cruised home in second place in his race in 20.26.
Both men qualified for the half-lap semifinals on Wednesday, with Van Niekerk also set to compete in the 400m final on Tuesday night. Lydia Jele of Botswana put up another brave fight in the women’s 400m semifinals, but she settled for fifth position in a fast race in 51.57 and was unable to find a place in the final.