Caster Semenya ran another fantastic 800 meters. And, at Monaco, that means alot. The depth of the Herculis Monaco EBS Meeting across its many events make it very hard to impress. But, with a WR in the steeplechase for women and a WL for men, plus amazing depth in many other events, for Stuart Weir, the women’s 800 meters is one of his true stand outs. Here is his story.
Another Amazing women’s 800m
Spare a thought for Margaret Wambui who ran 1:59.70 in the Women’s 800m at the Herculis in Monaco tonight and finished 11th! If last year’s race was good, this one surpassed it.
- Last year Caster Semanya won with World Lead for 2017, a Meeting Record and a Diamond League Record of 1:55.27. This year she won in 1:54.60
- Last year the top seven were under 1:58.50. This year the top eight!
- Four of the top seven ran PRs
There was never any doubt that Semanya would win. The big question was who would come second. It was Francine Niyonsaba, who ran her PR in this race last year (1:55.47) and who was not far off that mark this year (1:55.96).
The best newcomer award goes to Natoya Goule (Jamaica) who finished third. At 27, it is hard to call her a newcomer! I first met her at the World Championships in London 2017, when she went out in the prelims in 2:01. Again at the World Indoors, she battled hard and nearly made the final. The blunt truth was that she could not run under 2 minutes so there was no place for her at the elite table.
Then at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April, she cracked it, running 1:58.82, behind Semanya and Wambui. As I wrote at the time it was such a courageous and clever race. She let Semanya go and bided her time and as others tired she surged though to take bronze.
This summer she has gone from strength to strength. To prove her 1:58.82 was no fluke, she ran 1:58.85 in Jamaica, following that with 1:57.69 in Paris, 1:58.33 in Rabat and now tonight 1:56.15, another PR by a second and a half and a Jamaican record. Again she ran a sensible race, sitting in the field and making her move when she was ready. Goule’s degree is in sports management – she is not bad at race management either!
But let’s give the last word to the winner, Caster Semanya, “It was just fantastic, only the last 100 meters a little off for me. It was long month of racing for me now I need to rest. I feel that on my body. I like to run on my own without a pacemaker from the beginning. I want to keep my running, today wanted to break 1.54 but maybe next time. I want to be consistent at this level. I was not thinking about the world record today and actually it is not on my mind. My next race is African Championships. For sure I will run 800 and will decide between 1500 and 400 for the second event.