Caster Semenya wins 800

Updated: September 9, 2010, 7:15 PM ET
Associated Press

MILAN -- Caster Semenya returned to form by winning the 800 meters at the Notturna di Milano meet on Thursday, her last race before the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

The 19-year-old world champion from South Africa spent most of the race in second but overtook Hind Dehiba of France on the back straight to cross in 1 minute, 58.16 seconds. It was her best time since she was cleared to run after being sidelined 11 months by a gender dispute.

"I feel pretty happy," Semenya said. "I wasn't expecting a fast race. But my coach told me to run my own race, even if it was fast.

"We have been looking to run 1:58 and it is good for us to build up to that time. What I need to do now is concentrate on my next race and not worry about what is written about me."

Semenya had recently finished third in the Brussels Diamond League meet and seventh at the Rovereto in northern Italy. She will now head home before the Commonwealth Games start on Oct. 3. The track and field competition begins three days later.

"I'm going home and will just do some basic training sessions," Semenya said. "It is the same training as the last few weeks and I will try to keep doing the same times."

Two-time European champion Christophe Lemaitre of France continued his impressive season by winning the 100 in 10.18. The Frenchman was the slowest out of the blocks but took the lead at 60 meters and accelerated across the finish line.

"My start wasn't good, but I did what I had to do," Lemaitre said. "I am used to my start being like that, and I have had to get used to it."

In the 400, double-amputee Oscar Pistorius of South Africa finished fourth in 46.48 in his 22nd and final race of the season.

"I'm happy, I felt good," Pistorius said. "I kept my speed up to the end and I couldn't have asked for a better end to the season than that. I've run two races at 46.0, so I've just got to get a good base in preseason and work hard toward 45.0."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press