Caster Semenya Makes Olympic Debut, Qualifies For Women's 800m Semifinal

South African runner Caster Semenya made her Olympic debut on Wednesday and proved that she has what it takes where it counts -- on the track.

Semenya placed third in qualifying for the women's 800 meters on Wednesday, earning a spot in the event's semifinals with a time of 2 minutes, 00.71 seconds. She finished .24 seconds behind American Alysia Johnson Montano in the fastest of six qualifying heats. Semenya was also bested by Pamela Jelimo of Kenya, who covered the distance in 2:00.54 to easily win her heat.

Semenya -- who was forced to undergo genetic testing in 2009 by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), track's international governing body -- is considered a medal contender in the 800m, and was the silver medalist at the distance at the 2011 IAAF World Championships. She also served as the flag-bearer for South Africa's Olympic delegation at the Opening Ceremony.

Semenya, Johnson Montano, Jelimo and the rest of the women's 800m semifinals will run in three heats beginning at 2:30 p.m. Eastern on Thursday.

For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics hub. For more on Olympic athletics, follow the 2012 Olympic athletics section.

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