Semenya cruises into final
Caster Semenya (Gallo Images)
Daegu - Caster Semenya, looking to put
controversy over her true gender behind her, showed glimpses of her old
self as she cruised into the final of the 800m at the world
The 20-year-old South African defending champion clocked 1:58.07 in her semi-final, the fastest qualifying time.
made her move after 600m, moving steadily through the field into the
final stretch where she kept a safe distance from the chasing Ekaterina
Kostetskaya of Russia.
Her main rivals, Russia's Mariya Savinova and Kenyan Janet Jepkosgei, were second and third fastest.
world indoor and European champion Savinova timed her run to perfection
in her heat, coming from the back of the pack at 600m to pip 2007 world
champion Jepkosgei at the line.
"I'm pleased because I wanted to qualify for the final," said Jepkosgei, who is also reigning world silver medallist.
"I won the 800m in 2007 so I am going to do my best against my competitors, especially the Russians."
Russian, Yuliya Rusanova, also impressed in winning her heat in
1:58.73, American Maggie Vessey beating Jennifer Meadows into third,
meaning the British bronze medallist from Berlin missed out on a spot in
After her win in Berlin in 2009 Semenya found herself
the target of seedy allegations that saw her cast into limbo because of
doubts over her gender.
But she was cleared by the sport's world governing body, the IAAF, and largely accepted by her peers.
who clocked a jaw-dropping personal best of 1:55.45 in storming to
victory in 2009 Berlin worlds, was stood down soon afterwards and
remained on the sidelines until July 2010.
The Pretoria University
student was revealed to be a hermaphrodite after the leaking of test
results following her 800m win in Berlin.
The incident generated
anger from the South African public and government, who rallied behind
the athlete, and sparked a major gender review by the IAAF, which in
April introduced new eligibility rules for women athletes with excessive
male hormones, a medical condition known as hyperandrogenism.
Semenya was cleared to compete as a woman in July 2010, nearly a year after she shot to prominence.
into the Daegu worlds there were doubts over Semenya's fitness after
managing sub-2min times just twice in 13 outings this season and also
having pulled out of the recent World University Games in China with a