Semenya pips Chepkoech to 1500m gold in Gold Coast
GOLD COAST COMMONWEALTH GAMES ; Beatrice Chepkoech finishes second in the 1500m race won by Caster Semenya
Beatrice Chepkoech put up a resilient fight before losing out to South Africa’s five time 800m champion Caster Semenya to win silver in the 1500m final on Tuesday.
Chepkoech took charge of the race from the start, but Semenya’s 800m race tactics came in to help her as she gave a push in the final 300m to open up a gap over Chepkoech. Semenya won the race in a Games Record time of 4:00.71.
The Kenyan came in second in a new Personal Best time of 4:03.09. Compatriot Mary Wangari finished ninth in 4:05.88 after falling off in the final lap of the race.
Chepkoech wiped off the tears of two consecutive fourth place finishes at the Olympics in 2016 and the World Championship last year to win her first major championship medal.
It wasn’t a great start to the race with the athletes being forced to numb down in the cold for 10 minutes due to a technical problem on the start equipment. However, once the gun went off, Chepkoech showed early intent that she was hunting for her medal.
She took charge of the pace with home girl Linden Hall breathing on her shoulder while Semenya kept herself a few metres behind on the outside lane. With two laps to go, Wangari pushed her pace and came in at third place behind Chepkoech and Hall.
However, Semenya made her move in the final 300m of the race, taking charge of the leadership and opening up a gap to go on and win. Chepkoech held on for silver with Hall charging, but the Australian went off gas in the final 30m as Melisa Courtney of Wales pipped her for bronze.
Earlier on, Kenyan record holder Maxmila Imali progressed to the final of the 400m after winning her heat convincingly in 51.52 seconds, putting up a strong performance to wade off Nigeria’s Yinka Ajayi who came second for the other automatic qualifying slot.
Veronica Mutua and Gladys Musyoki failed to qualify for the final, Mutua finishing bottom of her heat in 54.85 while Musyoki was seventh in her semi clocking 54.40.