Five athletics great moments

24 December 2018 - 12:00
By David Isaacson
South Africa's Caster Semenya wins the women's 800m at the Paris Diamond League on June 30 2018.
Image: REUTERS/Charles Platiau Caster Semenya South Africa's Caster Semenya wins the women's 800m at the Paris Diamond League on June 30 2018.

We reflect on some of the most exciting performances of the year and highlight the displays that we believe encompassed what athletics is all about.

1) Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge smashed the world marathon best as he clocked 2hr 01min 39sec in Berlin in September

That was nearly 90 seconds quicker than the previous mark of 2:02:57 set by compatriot Dennis Kimetto.

The man is edging closer to the two hour barrier, but it’s still a massive leap away.

2) Caster Semenya lowering her SA 800m record to 1:54.25 at the Paris Diamond League in June

That was her first time under 1:55, and it made her the fourth-fastest women’s runner in history. Pamela Jelimo’s African record is just 0.24sec away, while the world record is 0.97 away.

3) Shortly before Semenya won the 800m at the Monaco Diamond League, Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya cracked the women’s 3000m steeplechase world record

She went 8:44.32 to smash Ruth Jebet’s 8.52.78. The knowledgeable crowd at the Herculis meet knew she was on track early on, and they helped as they cheered her on, lap after lap.

4) Frenchman Kevin Mayer took decathlon to a new level when he lifted the world record to 9126 points

He’s only the third man in history to have broken 9000 points, after American Ashton Eaton in 2012 and 2015 and Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic in 2001. 

5) Clarence Munyai running 19.69sec to break Wayde van Niekerk’s 200m SA record at the national championships in Pretoria

He pulled out of the final and, struggling with injury, didn’t do anything of note for the rest of the season.

But that time had him at the top of the world list for most of the season until being unseated by American Noah Lyles.