Semenya sets her sights on long distances after double golds

Caster Semenya celebrates her victory in the Women's 800 metres final on day nine of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium. Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

GOLD COAST, Australia -- There was no world record, but Caster Semenya easily completed the middle-distance double at the Commonwealth Games by winning the women's 800m on Friday night.

South Africa's Semenya, who already had the 1500m gold in her suitcase, finished almost two seconds clear of Kenyan Margaret Nyairera Wambui and Jamaican Natoya Goule.

Semenya shot to the front from the outset and never looked in trouble at Gold Coast's Carrara Stadium, swinging into the home straight to set a new Games record of 1:56.58.

There had been speculation in the lead up to the event the two-time reigning Olympic champion would attempt to tackle the world record held by Jarmila Kratochvilova that has stood since 1983.

But Semenya later confirmed that was never on the radar, her focus instead on controlling the race from start to finish: "Today was just all about being in command, running your own pace.

"Sometimes you need to enjoy yourself and run your own pace, see if you can maintain it throughout. For me, 58-58 [58 seconds each lap] is a pace that now I think I've mastered, I ran that as a junior.

"So being able to run that [time] in the Championships in South Africa and then being able to repeat it here, it shows a progress because for us it's all about learning every day; it's all about improvement. Now it's all about having fun."

With the middle-distance double now complete at the Commonwealth Games, speculation will now turn to whether Semenya takes on a similar challenge at next year's World Championships, and then again at the Olympics two years later in Tokyo.

It was a challenge that proved a bridge too far in London last year, as she could only manage a bronze in the 1500m, despite again claiming gold over her favoured 800m trip.

While giving little away as to whether she will attempt the middle-distance double at the two major championships in the next couple of years, she did give a glimpse into where her longer term future might lie.

"Yeah I think for this four years that has been a target to double up each and every championship," Semenya said of the middle distance double. "We need to run about four championships in doubles and then we decide if we still have speed for 800 metres.

"If we still have speed in in [800] we still continue 800 metres. But if not, we'll go further because obviously we have 5K, we have 10K. I believe I can still do better.

"I'm still 27, when I do my long runs I feel like I can still fit into distance running. So for me, this is more than a game."

And what about the world record over the 800, then? Can she still takedown a mark that has stood for 25 years?

"The world record? We can't discuss that because it is still early...we are quite pleased with the performance tonight and obviously we had 1500 [earlier in the week] but we still have a long way to go.

"To talk about world records... probably it will be after three or four months from now but I'm not guaranteed about that," she said.