South African middle distance Olympic champion Caster Semenya broke her personal best time in the 3000m on Thursday in Cape Town, taking a whopping 10 seconds off her time to breach the nine-minute barrier.
Semenya, who is still barred from racing in her preferred 400m and 800m distances due to her refusal to take medication to bring down her testosterone levels, won in a time of 8:54.97.
Semenya's 3000m time was the sixth-fastest over that distance in South Africa's record books, and she easily outpaced Aynslee van Graan (9:09.63) and training partner Glenrose Xaba, who also set a personal best (9:12.51).
Semenya, who did not qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in the longer distances, is aiming to qualify for the 5000m race at the World Championships later this year. She told reporters after her race at the ASA Grand Prix yesterday that she would be competing at the African Games in June.
Semenya's quest to qualify for major world events in the 5000m is still a work in progress, as she was still some 20 seconds shy of the qualifying mark when racing in 2021. Her personal best across that distance is 15:32.1, while the qualifying time for the 5km race is 15:10:00.
With the strong wind at Green Point Stadium affecting other disciplines, middle-distance runners delivered the standout performances on the night.
National 800m champion Tshepo Tshite displayed fine form to win the men's 1 500m race in 3:36.09, holding off pre-race favourite Ryan Mphahlele (3:36.86) in one of the best contests of the night. Tumelo Machaba took third position (3:40.71).
The sprint races were affected by the conditions, with teenager Benjamin Richardson winning the men's 200m race in 21.08 seconds, into a -3.3m/s headwind, and Sekese Mphontsheng winning the women's 200m race in 24.31, into a -4.2m/s wind.