Caster Semenya 'entertains' the crowd in Paarl

Caster Semenya celebrates with fans after winning the Women's 1500m race during the 2018 Liquid Telecoms Athletix Grand Prix event at Dal Josaphat Stadium in Paarl. Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Not even issues with the stadium clock could overshadow a few stellar performances from South Africa's finest athletes at the third and final leg of the Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series at Paarl's Daljosaphat on Thursday evening.

The boisterous Boland crowd who came out to watch the likes of Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya, South Africa's fastest man of the 100m Akani Simbine and local long jump sensation Ruswahl Samaai got their monies worth on a windy night in the Cape Winelands.

The clock did its best to spoil the night, as there was confusion as to whether Semenya succeeded in winning the 1500m in a new SA record, while the clock stopped at 9.85 when Simbine, who broke the SA record with a 9.89 run in 2016 in Hungary, crossed the finish line.

Semenya, though, fell short of Zola Budd's 34-year-old record, as she posted an official time of 4:02.50. However, the middle-distance superstar wasn't too perturbed about not breaking the record, instead focussing on a positive race ahead of get 800, 1500m double quest at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

"I'm not disappointed [about the record], I'm very happy with the outcome of the race. It was not about the record today, it was just about having fun," Semenya said.

"It was just fantastic coming here, the people came out in their numbers and we just wanted to entertain them."

Simbine pointed the clock as he crossed the line, obviously thinking that he had broken his own SA record. But he ended up with a time of 10.08, while Simon Magakwe finished second (10.24) and another local star Henricho Bruintjies ending in third position (10.27).

One of the biggest cheers of the night was reserved for Samaai, who looks in tremendous form heading into the Commonwealth Games.

The Olympic bronze medallists, who went to school about 5km from the stadium, dominated the long jump from his first attempt to the last. Samaai leaped to a season's best 8.39m on his first attempt and never looked back.

Cheswell Johnson fed off Samaai and the crowd's energy and posted a personal best of 8.12m, while Zarck Visser was third with a 7.99m.

One of the closest races of the evening came in the men's 200m when 21-year-old South African champion Luxolo Adams beat Anaso Jobodwana to the finish line. The clock again added a bit of excitement by showing 19.78, but the official time was 20.01, with Jobodwana continuing his comeback from injury with a 20.07.