By ANDREW DAMPF
2013-09-09 03:01 AM
RIETI, Italy (AP) -- Caster Semenya showed she's back in form following injury with a dominating win in the 800 meters at the Rieti World Challenge meeting Sunday.
Semenya, the 2009 world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist from South Africa, clocked 1 minute 58.92 seconds in the two-lap race, her best time this season. She finished far ahead of runner-up Nelly Jepkosgei of Kenya, who crossed in a personal-best 1:59.40.
"That's awesome," a beaming Semenya said. "The race went according to plan."
Semenya missed last month's worlds in Moscow due to a right knee injury and has her eyes set on next year's Commonwealth Games.
"It's fine but I'm not yet finished with rehab," Semenya said. "I need to finish that and start my buildup for next year. ... Hopefully next year I'll be good."
In the high jump, Olympic champion Anna Chicherova was beaten by fellow Russian Irina Gordeyeva.
Gordeyeva cleared 1.99 meters while Chicherova came up short at 1.96.
The meet was dedicated to Pietro Mennea, the Italian former 200-meter Olympic champion who died in March at 60. Tommie Smith, the American known for his black power salute at the 1968 Olympics, was on hand to remember Mennea.
Alberto Juantorena, the Cuban who swept the 400 and 800 at the 1976 Olympics, was also flown in for the occasion.
Smith and Juantorena were paraded around the track in vintage cars before the meet started and then awarded several of the winners.
In Mennea's honor, the rarely held 300-meters was run. Rusheen McDonald of Jamaica won in 31.97, breaking Mennea's meet record from 1979.
Wearing a tracksuit in army camouflage colors, Walter Dix of the United States won the 100 in 9.99 with Dwain Chambers of Britain a distant second in 10.09 and Ryan Bailey of the United States third in 10.10.
Also, Olympic champion Sally Pearson of Australia dominated the 100 hurdles in a meet-record 12.64.
In a stellar hammer throw competition featuring the entire men's and women's podiums from last month's worlds, both silver medalists from Moscow won.
Krisztian Pars of Hungary took the men's event with a throw of 79.80 and Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland won the women's event with a toss of 76.57.