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 sex 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.
“I want everyone to know that South African athletes are here to stay. I’m proud to be a South African.We are a great nation and we want to display that to the world,” she said.
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.