By Mike Oboh
ASABA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Caster Semenya won the women’s 400 metres in a South African record time of 49.96 seconds, while Nijel Amos of Botswana retained his 800m title by beating Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir at the African Championships on Friday.
Semenya, the Olympic and world 800m champion, clipped 0.09 seconds off the 18-year-old national record. She now holds the South African 400, 800, 1,000 and 1,500 metres records.
“It is all about having fun, wait for the right moment to execute so you can have a good race,” said the 27-year-old, who will run at her more familiar 800m distance later this week.
“I can’t say I am still new in this event (the 400m). I have run the 400 previously but not really in a competitive level.”
A new International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) hyperandrogenism rule that she is challenging at the Court of Arbitration for Sport could prevent Semenya competing in the 800m and 1500m races after November.
But she said her career plans are far from done.
“My goal is to run till 40 years (old), probably three more Olympics to come,” she said.
Amos, meanwhile, claimed his third consecutive African title in the 800, clocking 1:45.20 to defeat Korir, the year’s fastest, who ran 1:45.65.
“My decision to go to America has paid off, said Amos, who trains in Oregon.
Baboloki Thebe gave Botswana a second gold when he won the 400 in 44.81.
Nigeria claimed the women’s 4×100m relay in 43.77 and also won the women’s long jump (Brume Ese, 6.83m) and the women’s discus (Onyekwere Chioma, 58.09).
South Africa beat the Nigerians in the men’s 4×100m, winning in 38.25 to 38.74.
Kenya also had three more golds with Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto winning the 3,000m steeplechase in 8:26.38, Winnie Chebet claiming the women’s 1,500 in 4:14.02 and Matthew Sawe the men’s high jump with 2.30m.
(Reporting by Mike Oboh in Asaba, Editing by Gene Cherry)