Semenya wins gold in 800m, sets new games record

South African middle distance runner Caster Semenya celebrates winning gold in the Women's 800m final at the Commonwealth Games in Australia on 13 April 2018

South African middle distance runner Caster Semenya celebrates winning gold in the Women's 800m final at the Commonwealth Games in Australia on 13 April 2018

Semenya surprised her rivals by dictating the pace from the start of the final and maintained a commanding lead for the most of the race to finish in 1 minute, 56.68 seconds.

"I'm absolutely gutted", said Hughes. "To just go out and show the world what I can do".

Kenya's Margaret Wambui was a distant second in 1:58.07, while Natoya Goule of Jamaica finished third in 1:58.82.

While questions persist over whether Semenya should even be allowed to take the field, the runner revealed that the brickbats were a form of motivation for her.

"I understand how to handle emotions, how to handle negativity and turn it into positivity", said the world champion. "Still want to have three, four, five months before I decide if I want a world record or not", she said. "It's not about what other people think of me, it's about how I think of myself".

There was disappointment for Australia's neighbours New Zealand when Valerie Adams failed in her attempt to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive shot put gold, but there was no disputing the quality of the track races.

Semenya's time of one minute 56.68 seconds took almost a second off the Games record and will surely convince her to double up at next year's world championships in Doha and perhaps the Olympics that follow in 2020.

"I'm still young - just turned 27".

Meanwhile, Canada's Alysha Newman upset New Zealand's Olympic bronze medallist Eliza McCartney to win the women's pole vault.

That cheer might have gone to Gold Coast golden girl Sally Pearson had the world 100m hurdles champion not been forced to drop out of the Games with an Achilles injury.

Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow won gold for England in the men's 10-meter platform synchro with 405.81 points.

"There are 37 countries in the Commonwealth where it's now illegal to be who I am", he said, calling for that number to come down before the 2022 Birmingham Games.

On the bowls green, Nicolene Neal and Colleen Piketh looked good for gold in the women's pairs final but let it slip from their grasp against a determined Malaysian team. The 18-year-old Evripidou had already won gold medals in the team event and individual all-around, and added the hoops and ball to her collection.

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