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AFP
April 11, 2018

Semenya smashes Budd’s S African record

Sports

AFP
April 11, 2018

GOLD COAST, Australia: Caster Semenya smashed Zola Budd’s long-standing South African 1,500 metres record at the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday as her dominance on the track continued to be dogged by controversy off it.

Semenya, who has elevated levels of male hormones, made her move on the last lap, overtaking Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech on the final bend and accelerating away to win in 4min 0.71sec.

The 27-year-old’s victory by more than two seconds sliced 1.1sec off Budd’s 1984 South African record and earned Semenya her first Commonwealth medal, to go with her swathe of Olympic and world titles over 800m.

It was a victorious moment for Semenya, who called for assistance for an exhausted rival lying on the track before setting off for a lap of honour wrapped in the national flag.Semenya has long endured scrutiny over her hyperandrogenism and this week, Australian 800m runner Brittany McGowan raised familiar concerns.

Semenya’s emphatic win comes with her future again clouded after the Court of Arbitration for Sport suspended the IAAF’s hyperandrogenism regulations, which now look set to be changed.However, she is now eyeing the world record in the 800m, in which she will be hot favourite when the heats start on Thursday.

Semenya’s appearance raises new questions at the Games, whose first transgender athlete, New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, dramatically injured herself mid-competition on Monday and later said her career may be over.

Elsewhere, Botswana’s Isaac Makwala did press-ups on the track after winning the 400m in 44.35sec, Grenada’s Lindon Victor won the decathlon and New Zealand’s Julia Ratcliffe shed tears of joy after she hurled 69.94m to take hammer gold.

Jamaican debutant Ronald Levy outstripped former Olympic bronze-medallist Hansle Parchment to win the 110m hurdles in 13.19, while Kimberly Williams and Shanieka Ricketts formed another Jamaican one-two in the triple jump.

Meanwhile in the swimming competition, spine-tingling wins in the final-night medley relays crowned a spectacular showing in the pool for Australia that has raised hopes for future Olympic success.

Bronte Campbell, preferred to elder sister Cate for the freestyle anchor leg, overhauled Canada’s Taylor Ruck to seal a thrilling victory in the 4x100m medley in Games record time.

Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers then reeled in England’s Ben Proud in a super-charged final lap to win the men’s medley relay by just nine hundredths in the final event of the six-day meet.

It left the host nation alone at the top with 21 golds on the able-bodied swimming medal tally, well ahead of England and South Africa, both on six golds.Australia also won seven more golds in the para swimming events for a combined team tally of 73 medals.

Australia have not lost in the pool at a Commonwealth Games since going down to Canada at Edmonton in 1978.Mitch Larkin was Australia’s most successful swimmer with five golds in five events, including a backstroke sweep, while Chalmers won four titles — three in relays, but had to settle for silver in the 100m free, the event he won at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Campbell sister and rising teen star Ariarne Titmus finished with three golds and a silver.The Commonwealth gold rush has given Australian swimming a boost after a 10-medal haul at Rio that featured just three golds with a new generation of swimmers, headed by Olympic champions Chalmers and Mack Horton at the forefront.

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