Caster Semenya won in a personal best time of 1:55:29, setting a new record time for a South African and recording the fastest 800m time in the world this year.
She has been scrutinised and stared at and questioned but on Saturday night came a moment simply to marvel at the supreme athleticism of Caster Semenya – a 25-year-old woman who, when all was said and done, powered her way to an 800m gold with an outstanding performance.
Semenya’s innate condition, hyperandrogenism, has made her a marginal figure, diving for safety in mixed zones and escaping the spotlight. But though the debate around her will continue until the authorities find a solution to whether the testosterone her condition creates must be controlled, her performance was beautiful in its athleticism and intelligence.
She won in a personal best time of 1:55:29, setting a new record time for a South African and recording the fastest 800m time in the world this year. Second was the Burundi Francine Niyonsaba. Third was the Kenyan Maragaret Nyairere Wambui, the 20-year-old also thought to be among the athletes with hyperandrogenism.
Semenya was undemonstrative as she had been in her heat in midweek. She made a cross with her arms. But she was fast out at the start, hit the front after the first bend and finished the first lap there in 57:59. Niyonsaba came back and briefly led but Semenya looked effortless as she regained ascendency at the 200m mark and eased home.
Here’s all the pics from the epic race.