Semenya sets new women's SA 400m best

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic - Caster Semenya yet again proved her track versatility as she stormed to a new national best in the 400 metres at the IAAF Intercontinental Cup on Saturday afternoon.

The middle distance dynamo powered her way to second place in 49.62 secs which is a quicker time that the 49.96 SA best that she set at the African Championships in Nigeria on 3 August. 

Burundi's Salwa Eid Naser was the fastest woman in 49.32 with Jamaican Stephenie McPherson placing third in 50.82.

Another African woman who kept the flag flying in the opening session of the two-day event was Ivory Coast sprinter Marie-Josee Ta Lou who took the win in 11.14. 

Britain's Dina Asher-Smith, in the colours of Europe, was second in 11.16.

There was more good news for Africa in the 1500 metres women's event, where Kenya's Winny Chebet held off American Shelby Houlihan in a dash for the line. Chebet got the victory in 4:16.01 with Houlihan placing second (4:16.36) followed by Morocco's Arababe Arafe (4:17.19).

There was no luck for South African Victor Hogan in the discus throw either, as he finished in fourth place in 63.49. His best effort of the afternoon was way off the winning mark of 67.97 of American Federick Dacres.

The African duo of Baboloki Thebe (Botswana) and Ncincihli Titi (SA) also found it to be a tough day at the office in the 200 metres.

Thebe's season-best time of 20.79 was only good enough to give him seventh spot with Titi one position higher up in 20.78.  Panama's Alonso Edward running in the Americas team vest was the fastest over the sprint in 20.19.

By the end of the afternoon session, the African team had much homework to do as they found themselves last on the points table in the intercontinental competition with 58. 

The Americas were in the lead with 93, with Europe on 87 and the Asian-Pacific line up on 67.