Caster Semenya says she paid the price for a mistake after taking bronze in the women’s 1500m at the world championships in London on Monday night.
Semenya was forced to fight after allowing the front-runners to get too far ahead in the race‚ won by Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon ahead of Jenny Simpson of the US.
The South African was fifth coming down the home straight‚ but she made up ground on her rivals as she delivered the fastest final 200m of the field.
Still‚ Semenya had to dip on the line to push Laura Muir of Britain into fourth place by seven-hundredths of a second to give SA its third medal of the showpiece so far.
“I knew what they were going to do‚ but I slipped back. I made a mistake. I had to pay for that‚ but I’m quite happy with the medal‚” a beaming Semenya said afterwards.
“Letting them stretch [ahead] for long‚ that was the biggest mistake. I tried to keep up the pace but I realised when it’s about the last 300m that I’m far back so‚ ja‚ I had to pay the price.”
Semenya‚ the Olympic 800m titleholder‚ is known for her kick in that event‚ but she said this was a different proposition.
“I’m used to kicking‚ but this is a different race — it’s three laps‚ not two laps …
“I’m an 800m runner so for me to change pace like that is quite difficult.
“I have to wait‚ listen to my body‚ listen to my brains and then obviously I’ll kick later.”
Asked if she was worried at any point she had blown her medal chances‚ Semenya replied: “No‚ no‚ no. I always believe in myself. I knew I’m going to win a medal.”
Muir said her gas tank hit empty on the home straight. “I gave it everything I had‚ but ran out of energy in the last 50m as they came past.”