Cape Town — World champion Caster Semenya opened South Africa's IAAF Diamond League campaign in spectacular fashion on Friday night, setting a world and meeting lead with a convincing victory at the series opener in Doha.
Semenya, the defending series champion in the women's 800m event, won the two-lap race in 1:54.98 . By the time she had crossed the line, she was nearly three seconds clear of Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba, who took second place in 1:57.75.
Earlier, in the women's 400m hurdles race, Wenda Nel took seventh place in 56.16 seconds, while world junior champion, Zeney van der Walt , finished eighth in 56.45 on her Diamond League debut.
Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad of the United States won the race in 53.61. The second of 14 legs in the 2019 IAAF Diamond League series will be held in Shanghai, China on May 18.
"Congratulations to a superb performance by Caster who has once again risen above all challenges to achieve a great result. Wenda and Zeney are expected to improve with each performance," said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa.
"We look forward to many more good performances by South African athletes as we build up to the World Championships later this year at the same venue."
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Semenya, who is a double Olympic champion (2012, 2016) and three-time world champion (2009, 2011, 2017), has now won her past 30 races over 800m.
The South African is competing in the Diamond League just two days after losing a landmark case against athletics' governing body.
With the Court for Arbitrations of Sport (CAS) having ruled on Wednesday that the IAAF's decision to limit the amount of natural testosterone in female athletes from May 8 and will apply to races over distances of 400m to the mile.
This could be Semenya's final 800m performance in South African colours.
Semenya, however, can appeal the decision at a Swiss tribunal within 30 days. Her legal team has confirmed they are considering their options.
30 in a row! @caster800m takes the women's 800m and is officially unbeaten in 30 800m races now - phenomenal!Winning time of 1:54.98 WL, MR and made it look easy.#DohaDL ???? #DiamondLeague-- IAAF Diamond League (@Diamond_League) May 3, 2019