Two-time Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya won the women’s 3000 meters and set a new personal best for the event at the second leg of the ASA Athletics Grand Prix Series, at Green Point stadium in Cape Town on Wednesday (23).
Semenya, who has been deprived of running in her specialty, which is the 800m, continues to show promising improvement over the longer disciplines after she crossed the finish line in 8:54.97 to miss out at lowering the current world-leading time of 8:52.19, set by American Valerie Constien last month.
Her winning time on Wednesday, though, improved on the previous PB of 9:04.20, which was set in 2021. Read more: Caster Semenya to line up 3000m at ASA Athletics Grand Prix 2; how to watch live?
Semenya ran behind early leader Kyla Jacobs for most of the race before taking over the lead with a little over two laps remaining in a push to run a quick time.
The 31-year-old quickly extended her advantage to open up a massive gap on the rest of the field on her way to powering home and breaking nine minutes for the event for the first time in her career.
“The run was a little bit tricky,” Semenya said, noting that “mind-blowing wind” made her warm up a bit difficult and “not really settled.”
“Fortunately before the start, the wind died down a bit and worked in our favor.”
The three-time world champion over 800m said the target today was to break nine minutes and she was happy to achieve that goal.
“It was a great race, happy with the result. The target obviously was to break nine minutes and we achieved the goal [so] now we’ll have to go back to the drawing board and work more on mileage.”
Aynslee van Graan, back in South Africa on a visit, ran well to take second place in 9:09.63, while the early pace running proved too much for Jacobs, who faded back into third place in 9:23.48.