Caster Semenya is set to lift South Africa to its best Olympic performance in 96 years on Saturday night.

The London Games silver medallist from four years ago is tipped to take the gold medal this time around‚ which would give the nation its best haul since the Antwerp Games in 1920.
Then‚ SA had 10 medals with three gold‚ four silver and three bronze‚ and a Semenya victory would mean Team SA in Rio has the same total‚ but with two gold‚ six silver and two bronze.
That would be the third time SA has achieved 10 medals‚ the other being at Helsinki 1952 with two gold‚ four silver and four bronze.
With the same number of gold and more silver‚ Rio would be considered more successful.
The odds of a third gold in Brazil appear slim‚ however‚ with the last remaining chances being in the women’s triathlon on Saturday‚ and the men’s marathon and mountain bike races on Sunday.
Semenya is likely to win SA’s final medal Sunday‚ and it will surely be a golden sunset on a Games that could have been even more successful.
Swimmer Chad Le Clos may have finished with two silvers‚ but he should have harpooned a third in the 200m butterfly event he had won four years ago.
The rowing squad‚ too‚ were disappointed with their return of a single silver from five crews.
Le Clos and two of those boats ended fourth.
Team SA’s other fourth place was Richard Murray in the men’s triathlon on Thursday‚ but that’s hardly a lost medal considering his countryman‚ Henri Schoeman‚ was third. Push Murray to bronze and Schoeman slips off.
Then there are the two medal opportunities that Athletics South Africa (ASA) threw away.
First‚ they failed to provide sufficient opportunities for the men’s 4x100m relay team to qualify for these Games — with Wayde van Niekerk and Akani Simbine in the line-up‚ it’s a potent combination.
Then ASA’s selectors failed to pick Simbine for the 200m‚ an event in which he might have won a medal.
Simbine‚ who missed out on a bronze in the 100m by just three-hundredths of a second‚ has superb top-end speed that is particularly beneficial in the longer sprint.
With the silver and bronze medallists failing to break 20 seconds behind Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt‚ a fired-up and high-flying Simbine would have had a great chance to improve his personal best and make the podium.
If Semenya makes the top three on Saturday night‚ she will finally face the media at the press conference for all medal-winners.
So far she has walked through the mixed zone — where journalists get to speak to athletes after races — without answering any questions‚ except for a brief one-on-one interview by one of the officials‚ a recording of which has been released to all media.
Semenya insisted she had no pre-determined tactics.
“There are no strategies‚ I’ll just go with the flow‚ see how I feel in the race …
“I’m quite happy with my performance now so I’m just looking forward to the final.
“I just have to go back and check my videos … see how I’m lengthening my strides so I can run a better race in the final.”
Semenya’s final is set for 2.15am on Sunday (SA time)‚ with Elroy Gelant in the men’s 5‚000m just 15 minutes later.
TMG Digital/TMG Sport