Caster Semenya won what might be her last race for a while in stunning fashion tonight as she set a meeting record of 1min 54.98sec in the women’s 800m at the opening International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League meeting of the season.
Afterwards, however, the tone of her comments was proud and defiant: "I will keep on training and running - to me, impossibility is nothing."
The South African’s performance in Doha’s cavernous, refurbished Khalifa Stadium was the eighth fastest of all time and only just shy of her personal best of 1:54.25, the fourth best of all time.
In less than five months, Khalifa Stadium is due to host the IAAF World Championships.
But whether Semenya, who lost her appeal this week against the IAAF’s planned eligibility regulations for the female classification for athletes with differences of sex development, will be there remains open to question.
The IAAF has warned that female runners whose testosterone levels have been reduced to the statutory level of 5 nmol/L limit by May 8 will be able to compete in the World Championships, even though they will not have maintained their level for the statutory six months proposed before being eligible for international women’s competition.
At best, for runners in that category, this means a blank season before a late run in Doha - always assuming that levels can be brought to the required limit by next Thursday.
Thus Semenya’s typically powerful effort tonight had a valedictory feel.
In the wake of the landmark judgement by the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s panel, she has tweeted messages hinting that she is considering quitting.
But the commitment of her performance tonight gainsaid that idea.
As did her quotes afterwards.
"I'm excited winning here in Doha," she said.
"The first race of the season is tough and you may not be able to predict how your body is going to respond to the push but the weather is great and it was wonderful tonight.
"For me, I believe nothing is hard in life because it is up to you how you take life.
"As an athlete, I believe in sportmanship and what sports teaches you is to keep pushing on despite all odds.
"I know life could be difficult at times but I'm a believer and I believe there is always a way to resolve issues.
"One of my firm beliefs is that there is always a way out for everything.
"So if a wall is placed in front of me, I jump it.
"I'm going to keep enjoying my life and live it.
"I will keep on training and running.
"To me, impossibility is nothing."
Today's news that the World Medical Association has urged doctors not to administer drugs which lower the level of testosterone in female athletes has added another element of doubt into what is already a situation full of uncertainty.
Semenya was followed home, just as she had been in the Rio 2016 final, by Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba, who confirmed last month that she was subject to the same physiological requirements as Semenya.
Niyonsaba also produced an outstanding run, clocking 1:57.75, with Ajee Wilson of the United States taking third place in 1:58.83.
Much had been expected of the shot put given last month’s huge effort of 22.74 metres by Olympic champion Ryan Crouser of the United States.
Crouser registered another 22m-plus effort, 22.13m, to win from New Zealand’s world champion Tom Walsh, who threw 22.06m.
There was a less expected flourish in another of the mem’s throwing events as Sweden’s European discus silver medallist Daniel Stahl produced one of the finest sequences of throws in history.
The 26-year-old effectively won the competition with a first round effort of 69.63m before following up with throws of 70.49m and 70.56m, his farthest of the night, then 69.54m, 69.50m and 70.32m to become the first man to produce six throws beyond 69.50m in a single competition.
Britain’s European 100 and 200m champion Dinah Asher-Smith won the 200m in 22.26sec before the concluding women’s 3,000m, where Kenya’s 2017 world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri ran 8:25.60 to finish well clear of Ethiopia’s world 1500m record holder Genzebe Dibaba, second in 8:26.21.
There was another historic moment in the women’s high jump, where – at 17 years and 226 days old - Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh joined steeplechaser Conseslus Kipruto in being the youngest ever winner of a Diamond League event.
The reigning world and European under-18 champion cleared 1.96m to win the high jump in Doha by two clear heights.
Kipruto established the age record with a win in Monaco in 2012.