South Africa shines at African Championships

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya

Wayde Van Niekerk and Caster Semenya provided the expected victories at the African Athletics Championships in Durban to underline their soaring Rio 2016 ambitions and help the host nation to its eighth overall medal table victory and a share with Nigeria of the best ever record.

On the fifth and final day of the 20th Championships, Van Niekerk took 200 metres gold in 20.02sec ahead of Gambia’s Adama Jammeh, in 20.45, and Matadi Emmanuel of Liberia, in 20.55.

Van Niekerk had been targeting his personal best of 19.94, but complained he had been suffering from some “tightness.”

Semenya, who already has gold at 1500m, won the 800m in 1:58.2 ahead of Malika Akkaouiu of Morocco, in 2:02.20, and Emily Cherotich of Kenya, in 2:00.70.

Semenya then anchored the South African 4x400m relay team to victory in a new national and championship record of 3:28.49.

That may be enough to qualify for the Rio Olympics, depending on what other countries produce before the mid-July cut-off.

South Africa finished the competition with 16 golds, nine silvers and eight  bronzes, with Kenya second on eight gold, eight silver and eight bronze.

Nigeria secured third place overall with four golds.-Insidethegames

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