Statistics show Caster Semenya has her best shot at world record in Monaco
If Caster Semenya is going to break the women’s 800m world record this season‚ she’ll do it in Monaco on Friday night.
The Stade Louis II that is home to the Herculis Diamond League meet has hosted more of the top 100 times over the double lap than any other track in the world.
In the men’s 800m Monaco boasts 16 of the 100 fastest times in history‚ and in the women’s 800m it boasts 11. And the two quickest here were posted by Semenya in the past two seasons‚ 1:55.27 last year and 1:55.33 in 2016.
The South African superstar has already shown she is in the best form of her life‚ having posted her 1min 54.25sec national record — the fourth-best time ever — in Paris on June 30.
The only question is whether she will be as sharp as she was three weeks ago.
She was fresh off training in South Africa when she arrived in France‚ and since then she ended sixth in a 1500m race in Switzerland in 4:00.44 — still the second-best time of her career over this distance — and in Rabat last week she improved her national best in the 1‚000m to 2:31.01.
“Monaco is the Mecca of middle-distance racing‚” Semenya’s manager‚ Jukka Harkonen said on Thursday.
“It’s perfect conditions. The weather is hot and the wind is always down in the evening.”
The Monaco track is even more dominant in the men’s 1500m with 29 top-100 times; it’s joint second on nine times with Paris in the women’s 1500m‚ well behind Shanghai on 18.
But this statistic is undoubtedly skewed by the controversial Ma’s army which posted 16 of the times over two days in 1997.
“The best would have been if South Africa was closer‚ if Caster arrived here straight from training like she did in Paris‚” added Harkonen.
“The world record? That will come when it comes‚ but she can do a fast time.”
Jarmila Kratochvilova’s 1:53.28 world mark has stood since July 1983.
Semenya is one of three South Africans in action in Monaco on Friday night‚ but the other two are sprinters.
Carina Horn races in the women’s 100m and Luxolo Adams‚ one of the new faces of men’s sprinting‚ is in the 200m.
Horn‚ whose 10.98sec SA record from May ranks her joint ninth for the season‚ is considering halting her season temporarily to fix a dental problem.
She had four crowns put in earlier this year‚ but they failed to alleviate a problem she’s experienced since childhood‚ forcing her onto anti-biotics twice since arriving in Europe.
“I can handle pain‚ but I would wake up in the middle of the night sometimes. I’ve been on pain and sleeping tablets‚” said Horn‚ who is hoping she can have the problem sorted out before the Diamond League final at the end of August.
Horn is ranked eighth in the Diamond Race and Adams is also in contention for the 200m final‚ lying ninth after just one Diamond League race‚ in Stockholm‚ where he ended sixth.