/ 19 August 2009

SA’s Semenya grabs gold in Berlin

South African teenager Caster Semenya, whose rapid improvement has prompted officials to order a gender verification test, won the women’s world 800m title with a crushing performance on Wednesday.

Powerfully built but beautifully relaxed in motion, the 18-year-old clocked one minute, 55,45 seconds for the year’s fastest time and a personal best by more than a second.

Kenyan world champion and Olympic silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei was more than 15m adrift for second in 1:57,90.

Fast-closing Jenny Meadows of Britain snatched third, three-hundredths of a second behind Jepkosgei in another personal best.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) allowed Semenya to run with the gender test still ongoing, spokesperson Nick Davies said earlier on Wednesday.

”It would be wrong today to take a decision to withdraw an athlete,” he said.

Officials also decided to keep Semenya away from the traditional post-race news conference. — Reuters