Two-time Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya won the 5,000m title in a personal best of 15:52.28 on the opening day of the Sizwe Medical Fund ASA Senior Track and Field Championships in Tshwane.
Semenya, who is aiming to achieve the qualifying standard of 15:10.00 for the Tokyo Olympics this season, held off a challenge from Athletics Gauteng North teammate Glenrose Xaba who took second place in 15:55.25.
“I’m happy with how the race went today and with where we are at the moment. I’m not focussing on Tokyo yet. We’re still building up to that. We will try for the qualifying time when the time is right and if it comes then it comes, but for me right now it’s about having fun,’ said Semenya.
After breaking the SA junior women’s shot put record last week at the TWIZZA ASA Age Category (u16-u20) Championship in Paarl, Mine de Klerk built on her impressive form by earning the national senior title.
De Klerk won gold with a best effort of 16.82m, with Ischke Senekal taking second place (16.58m) and Meike Strydom grabbing bronze (16.21m) in a hard-fought battle.
Yvonne Robson won gold in the women’s high jump final, sailing over the bar at 1.80m.
Producing perhaps the biggest upset of the day, Jo Ane van Dyk won the women’s javelin throw final with a 59.47m heave, edging Olympic silver medallist Sunette Viljoen into second place (57.37m).
“The blistering performances we witnessed captured the Day 1 of the competition as was expected, with some walking away with titles and some reaching the semi-final and finals in their events.
“We congratulate the winners of the day and those have progressed to the next stage in the events,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa.
“We must not forget to thank the coaches of this country who have managed to keep their athletes in the best of shapes despite the challenges that the global pandemic has caused,” he concluded.
Photo 1 Caption: Caster Semenya pictured crossing the finish line to win the 5,000m national title, in a personal best of 15:52.28, on the opening day of the Sizwe Medical Fund ASA Senior Track and Field Championships in Tshwane. Image: Screengrab of the video posted by BackTrack Sports on Facebook