Van Niekerk through to 400m final as Semenya bows out after 5000m World Championships heats

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In her first appearance in the World’s since 2017, Caster Semenya was knocked out of the World Championships failing to progress further in the 5000m event.

The former three-time world champion in the 800m, who has since been barred from running international events from 400m to a mile unless she takes medication to reduce her testosterone levels, finished 45 seconds off qualifying for the final.

There was good news elsewhere though, as Wayde Van Niekerk made his first final at a major championship in more than 1 786 days.

Semenya last competed at the world championships in London in 2017 where she won her third 800m world crown. A year later, at the Gold Coast in Australia she won double gold in the 800m and 1500m at the Commonwealth Games which is the last time she represented South Africa in a global international competition.

Her return to competition in the Green and Gold did not produce the results she had hoped for, in sweltering heat which hit 32 celcius.

The South African finished 13th out of 16 runners in her heat in a time of 15 minutes 46.12 seconds, almost a minute behind the winner, Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia.

There was also no joy for Tshepo Tshite in the men’s 800m event. The 25-year-old and three-time South African champion was clearly put off his depth in these championships, finishing more than 3 seconds off the fastest qualifying time for the semifinals.

Running in his 3rd 400m race of the year, world record holder and former world champion Wayde Van Niekerk made it into his first final at a major Championship since 2017. Van Niekerk was the quickest over the first 200m of all three 400m semi-finals, running a 20. 97 seconds over the first half lap, to finish the race in 44. 75 seconds.

Wayde appeared to have a comfortable lead heading into the final 100 metres before Barbadian Jonathan Jones surged forward, running shoulder-to-shoulder with the South African.

But it was Champion Allison of the US, who recovered from about a metre back to sneak across the finish first, with van Niekerk, the Rio Olympic champion, holding on for the second automatic qualification spot.