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Olympics 2016

Semenya sets leading time

Filed on July 16, 2016 | Last updated on July 16, 2016 at 10.34 pm
Semenya sets leading time
Caster Semenya crosses the finish line after winning the women's 800m event.


South African Caster Semenya set the fastest time of the year in winning the women's 800 metres in the Herculis Diamond League meet on Friday.

Semenya pulled well clear in the home straight to finish in 1 minute, 55.33 seconds, more than one second faster than the time she set in winning a Diamond League meet at Rabat, Morocco, in May. Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi clocked 1:56.24 to take second place.

"We decided to take it from the start and see what we could come up with," said Semenya, who extended her overall lead in the Diamond League standings. "It takes a strong character to be successful."

European champion Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands dominated the women's 100 metres in 10.94 seconds, with Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica placing second in 11.12, and Carina Horn of South Africa third in 11.14.

"My goal was to win and that's what I did," said Schippers, whose win moved her to the top of the standings. "The time's not that good, but it's OK for now."

Alonso Edward of Panama won the men's 200 ahead of four-time European champion Christophe Lemaitre of France, while world champion Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa won the men's 400.

But there was a surprise in the men's 1,500 as 20-year-old Kenyan Ronald Kwemoi won in 3:30.49 seconds, while countryman Asbel Kiprop finished sixth in 3:32.03, just behind Britain's Mo Farah.

Last year, Kiprop posted the third fastest time ever in 3:26.69, but could not find the right rhythm on the same Stade Louis II track.

"I wanted a quick pace (and) I didn't really want them to slow down so much," Kiprop said. "The last 200 metres before the 1k (mark), that's where it slowed down a lot and the pack caught up."

Kenyan Alfred Kipketer pulled away in the home straight to win the 800 metres in 1:44.47, narrowly holding off a late surge from Poland's Adam Kszczot.

Spaniard Orlando Ortega won the 110 hurdles with a season best of 13.04 seconds, finishing ahead of Frenchmen Dimitri Bascou and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde.

But pre-race favorite Omar McLeod of Jamaica fell. He was off balance approaching the penultimate hurdle and his right leg clipped it, throwing him forward.

"I totally lost control," said McLeod, who also lost one of his running shoes. "The hurdle came up real quick."

Kenyan Conseslus Kipruto maintained his unbeaten Diamond League record this year in the 3,000 steeplechase, winning in 8:08.11, but had to hold on near the end as countryman Paul Kipsiele Koech pressured strongly. Barnabas Kipyego was third to complete a Kenyan 1-2-3.

"I could have done a faster time but I did not want to push myself to the limit," Kipruto said. "I preferred to save some energy for (the Olympic Games in) Rio."

In other men's events, Italian Gianmarco Tamberi won the high jump but his victory was soured when he fell heavily attempting to clear 2.41 metres.

"Please, no! Please, no!" Tamberi shouted in anguish, with his hands over his face as his left shoe was taken off. He then lay down on the ground with his hands on his face, still crying loudly.

Jamaican Damar Forbes won the long jump with a season best of 8.23 metres, narrowly beating Fabrice Lapierre of Australia.

Poland's Piotr Malachowski won the discus.

Also, Kenya's women completed a 1-2-3 in the women's 3,000 with Hellen Obiri winning ahead of Mercy Cherono and Janet Kisa.

Britain's Eilidh Doyle comfortably won the 400 metre hurdles in a personal best of 54.09, finishing .54 seconds clear of American Cassandra Tate.

In other women's events, Valerie Adams of New Zealand won the shot put with a season best 20.05 metres; Tatsiana Khaladovich of Belarus won the javelin; Katerina Stefanidi won the pole vault, and two-time world champion Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia won the triple jump.

A minute of silence was observed to honor the victims of the attack in the nearby city of Nice, where at least 84 people were killed when a man drove a truck through a crowd on a seaside promenade on Thursday.

The meet was given the go-ahead after consultation between the Monegasque Athletics Federation and Prince Albert of Monaco.

All festivities were cancelled at the stadium and there was no music played. 

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