Olympic 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya began her 2017 season assault with an impressive 3 000m win at the third leg of the Athletics SA Speed Series.
Her time of 9:36.29, in only the second time she took on a seven-lap race, was her personal best, comfortably beating specialists like Kesa Molotsane (9:37.46), Lebohang Phalula (9:43.40) and Mapaseka Makhanya (9:48.88).
She hardly broke sweat and found time to joke with officials next to the track.
For Semenya, there is the significant matter of the IAAF World Championships in London later this year. It was only her first race of the year, but a chilling message has been sent out.
“This race was part of my training in terms of gaining mileage, because we’re a month behind the schedule,” she said.
“I was just surprised with the time because I didn’t expect to go under 9:40. But we still need to play around with the distances. Times are not an issue,” she said.
Olympic javelin silver medallist Sunette Viljoen also did not have to push herself very hard.
A winning throw of 62.83m was enough to book her a ticket to the World Championships.
Viljoen said she was looking forward to settling a score in the London meeting.
In the 2012 Olympics in London, she finished fourth.
Akani Simbine a World Championships qualifying 200m time of 20.32 ahead of Botswana’s Isaac Makwala (20.62).