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Semenya fires broadside with progression to 800m final

AFP
9 August 2012 | Africa
South African Caster Semenya.  By Olivier Morin (AFP)
South African Caster Semenya. By Olivier Morin (AFP)

LONDON (AFP) - South African Caster Semenya fired out a broadside at Kenya's defending Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo with a season's best of 1min 57.67sec in the semi-finals of the women's 800m on Thursday.

The 21-year-old Semenya had to sit out track and field for almost a year after her stunning world victory in Berlin in 2009 after undergoing gender tests, but came back to win silver in the Daegu worlds.

In her semi here, Semenya sat in fifth at the bell but kicked with 250m to go to finish ahead of Russian Elena Arzhakova.

Janeth Jepkosgei, the silver medallist in the Beijing Games who won bronze in Daegu, was third but went through as one of the two faster finishers outside the two automatic spots from each of the three semis.

Jepkosgei will be joined in Saturday's final by teammate Jelimo, who won her heat in 1:59.42 ahead of another Russian, Ekaterina Poistogova.

A third, and arguably the strongest, Russian made the final in the shape of world champion Mariya Savinova, who won her semi in 1:57.42 ahead of Burundi's ever-improving Francine Niyonsaba in a national record of 1:58.67.

The last finalist will be Alysia Montano of the United States, who finished fourth in Semenya's fast second heat.

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