Semenya through to semis

SA athlete Caster Semenya made her Olympic debut by coming second in her 800m heat.

Caster Semenya came second in her heat in the 800m womens race in the Olympics, qualifying for the semi-final. Picture: Wessel Oosthuizen/SA Sports Picture Agency.

LONDON - South African athlete Caster Semenya finished second in her 800 metre heat on Wednesday at the 2012 London Olympics.

She qualified for Thursday evening's semi-final in a time of 2:00.71.

Semenya started relatively slow, but picked up her pace as she came down the final stretch.

Team SA is hoping that the 21-year-old can secure another medal for the country, but Semenya is not letting pressure from home get to her.

The semi-final will take place at 8.30pm (SA time).

Wednesday's race was Semenya's Olympic debut.

Semenya claimed first place at the championships in Berlin back in 2009 and won the 800m feat at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) world championships.

Meanwhile, athletes at Semenya's home training ground in Pretoria were ecstatic that she qualified for the semi-finals.

Hundreds of athletes and coaches gathered at the High Performance Centre to cheer her on as she crossed the finish line.

Semenya's former coach Michael Seme gave her performance the thumbs up.

He said Semenya showed signs of her former self and will improve on the road to the finals.

Delighted athletes agreed with Seme.