World and Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya set a new world best for 600m at the 76th edition of the ISTAF, an IAAF World Challenge Meeting, in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday (27).
Turning out as the lone SA representative, Semenya enjoyed a gun-to-tape victory, completing the race in 1:21.77.
She obliterated the previous world best of 1:22.63 which had been clocked by Cuban athlete Ana Quirot in 1991. Semenya’s performance was the 19th world record or best set at the ISTAF, widely considered Germany’s most spectacular athletics meeting.
Semenya, who took nearly four seconds off her own SA best of 1:25.56 which had stood for more than five years, was well clear of Ajee Wilson of the United States, who ended second in 1:22.39 while Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba was third at 1.41sec.
Semenya said she was delighted to end her season in the German capital where she won world gold eight years ago.
“I feel at home here, always welcomed and loved. I won my first world title here, so this city is special for me,” beamed the South African.
“I wanted to deliver (the world record) to make the people here happy.”