Caster misses Budd’s record

What a clock up. A faulty timing system marred the final Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix meet in Paarl last night, leaving spectators and athletes confused about their times. On the plus side, the athletes delivered some great contests, with Akani Simbine showing recently returned 100m champion Simon Magakwe just who’s the boss. In the 200m, national champion Luxolo Adams chased down the more experienced Anaso Jobodwana, the 2015 world champion, over the final metres to snatch a dramatic victory. Most of the talk ahead of this meet at the Dal Josaphat stadium had been about Caster Semenya and her bid to break Zola Budd’s 34year-old 1 500m record.

As the starter’s gun sounded, a technician was working on the trackside clock, which was dead to the world at that moment. Luckily the clock on the giant TV screen was working, or so spectators thought, and it showed that Semenya – who had been closely tailed by US-based Dom Scott until she accelerated on the final lap – was on track to beat Budd’s 4min 01.81sec mark. As Semenya stormed down the home straight the clock said she was going to smash the mark, 3:55, 3:56 and 3:57 as she hit the line. Okay, maybe it was 3:58. Not a chance – the clock suddenly tele-transported to 4:02.50, even slower than Semenya’s 4:01.99 best.

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