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Sun Apr 20 18:29:29 SAST 2014

Semenya looks good for glory

DAVID ISAACSON | 10 August, 2012 06:150 Comments
Olympics Day 13 - Athletics
Caster Semenya (R) of South Africa leads Elena Arzhakova (L) of Russia and Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei of Kenya as they compete during the Women's 800m Semifinals on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 9, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

SUNETTE Viljoen failed to cap what would have been a great day for South Africa's Olympic women as she ended a painful fourth in the javelin last night.

Yesterday was Women's Day in South Africa, and in London it was supposed to be the day for South Africa's women. Bridgitte Hartley won a bronze in the kayaking and Caster Semenya produced a stunning display to clock the quickest 800m time of the semifinals.

But Viljoen, who went to London ranked No1 in the world, missed out on a podium finish by just 38cm, although the truth is, she never really found her rhythm.

Her first throw of 64.53m - her best of the night - had her ranked in the top three for more than half the competition.

She was pushed off the podium contention in the fourth round by Germany's Linda Stahl, with 64.91. Although she recovered slightly, it was not enough to get a medal.

Defending champion Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic retained her Olympic javelin title with a world-leading 69.55m, and veteran German Christina Obergfoll was second with 65.16m.

Usain Bolt led an amazing Jamaican threesome home as he won the 200m in 19.32sec, becoming the first man in history to defend both the Olympic sprint crowns. More than a second behind was SA's Anaso Jobodwana, who finished last after a slow start. Yohan Blake (19.44) and Warren Weir (19.84) claimed silver and bronze.

Nijel Amos won Botswana's first-ever Olympic medal, a silver behind Kenya's David Rudisha in the 800m. Rudisha ran a world record 1:40.91 and Nigel a world junior record of 1:41.73.

Semenya, after settling into fifth place on the opening lap, stretched her legs on the back straight as she hauled in the leaders and came out the final bend sprinting into the lead. She was unchallenged as she crossed the line in 1min 57.67sec - her best time of this season by nearly two seconds.

Semenya is now in pole position going into tomorrow's final .

Willem Coertzen ended the gruelling men's decathlon in ninth spot overall, a respectable finish.

The men's 4x400m relay team and Sifiso Nhlapo crashed, but with different results. The relay team, featuring Oscar Pistorius, still advanced into tonight's final after lodging a protest because Ofentse Mogawane was felled by a Kenyan.

Nhlapo picked himself after crashing in his opening quarterfinal heat, but he was unable to finish higher than fifth in any of his other heats to progress.

Jessica Roux pulled out of the women's 10km open water swim.

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