Caster Semenya shatters 400m record at 2018 African Athletics Championships

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Caster Semenya has smashed another national record, this time it’s the 400m at the African Athletics Championships.

The South African is renowned for her domination of the middle distances, with consecutive 800m Olympic gold medals.

But in Asaba, Nigeria Semenya added a maiden sprint victory.

On a running surface that has seen better days, Semenya scorched past her hapless rivals in 49.96 seconds.


“I’ve run 400 meters previously, I just haven’t really done it at competitive level,” Semenya told reporters.

“But for me it’s not about who I’m running against, it’s just about me doing what I can do best.”

Her time would have placed fourth in the Rio 2016 Olympic final.

The 27-year-old now holds national records in the 400m, 800m, 1000m and 1500m.

New event, same lingering problem

Those hoping to see Semenya attempt to win three gold medals at Tokyo 2020 may be disappointed.

The 27-year-old has stated that she plans to compete in at least the 800m and 1500m in the Olympics.

However, new legislation could prevent the Polokwane native from doing so.

Semenya is believed to have a condition known as hyperandrogenism, meaning she has high levels of naturally-occurring testosterone.

She arrived on the international scene when the then 18-year-old stormed to a comfortable world 800m title in Berlin in 2009.

Her drastic improvements came under scrutiny, and Semenya was ordered to take sex tests.

The result was an eleven-month exclusion from athletics.

The next steps for Caster Semenya

On November 1 2018, new IAAF legislation will officially begin, barring women with high levels of naturally occurring testosterone from competing in distances from 400m up to the mile.

Semenya has publicly declared that she will challenge the new ruling through the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 

She said her career is far from over.

“My goal is to run until I am 40, probably three more Olympics to come.”

Check out the 800m final at Rio 2016:


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Author: Andrew Binner
Andrew is an Olympic Channel news producer and perennially-injured winger.