The Limpopo runner was unchallenged as she crossed the line in 1min 57.67sec, her best time of this season by nearly two seconds and almost a second quicker than runner-up Elena Arzhakova in 1:58.13.
“It was very hard, but I tried my best,” said Semenya, who played down her chances in the final.
“Sometimes you want to run a good race but you must forget about everything else. I must not focus on medals, just go out there and run.”
* Sunette Viljoen failed to cap what would have been a great day for South Africa’s Olympic women as she ended a painful fourth in the javelin here last night.
Viljoen, who came into London ranked No 1 in the world, missed out on a podium finish by just 38cm, although the truth is she never really found her rhythm.
Her first throw of 64.53m, her best of the night, had her ranked in the top three for more than half the competition, but even that looked cumbersome.
She was pushed off podium contention in the fourth round by Germany’s Linda Stahl, with 64.91, and although Viljoen recovered slightly, it was not enough to get a medal.
* Defending champion Barbora Spotakova of Czech Republic retained her Olympic javelin title with a world-leading 69.55m, and veteran German Christina Obergfoll was second with 65.16m.
* Usain Bolt led an amazing Jamaican threesome home as he won the 200m in 19.32sec, becoming the first man in history to defend both the Olympic sprint crowns.
More than a second behind was SA’s Anaso Jobodwana, who finished last after a slow start.
* Yohan Blake (19.44) and Warren Weir (19.84) claimed silver and bronze.
* Nijel Amos won Botswana’s first-ever Olympic medal, a silver behind Kenya’s David Rudisha in the 800m.
* Rudisha ran a world record 1:40.91 and Nigel a world junior record of 1:41.73.
Meanwhile, Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula, who was at OR Tambo International airport to welcome home Cameron van der Burgh and fellow Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos, said the government would prioritise funding for medal-winning sports like swimming.