The controversial gold medal middle distance runner who had to undergo a gender test in 2009
The 800 m double Olympic Gold medalist has sported controversy most of her career. Born in South Africa in 1991 she started her truly amazing sporting career winning the World Junior Championships in 2008 and a Gold Medal the same year in The Commonwealth Youth Games.
In 2009 she won the World Championships and shortly after her amazing victory The International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) subjected her to a gender test. Whilst the results of the test where never made public she was unable to return to International Athletics until 6th July 2010.
Racist claims made by South Africa against the IAAF
The IAAF claimed amid much controversy that they wanted to ensure that she did not have a rare medical condition, which would give her an unfair advantage. The South African Athletics Association criticised the IAAF claiming both racism and embedded imperialism.
The IAAF have since brought in rules on high levels of testosterone in female athletes, but they failed to confirm that higher testosterone levels in females increased performance. The new rule was challenged and they are still battling to provide sufficient evidence to back up their statements and have the rule implemented.
The continuing gold medal success
In the 2012 Olympics, Semenya, who carried the South African flag at the opening ceremony, placed 2nd in the 800m, winning a much coveted silver medal. However, on the Feb. 10, 2017 the winner, a Russian, was disqualified for failing a drug test. Subsequently, Semenya was given her first Olympic gold medal. In the 2016 Olympics she won her 2nd Gold medal in the 800m.
What does life now hold for Caster Semenya?
Now married to Violet Raseboya, Semenya holds a sports science degree, which she was awarded in 2018. A few weeks prior to this achievement, she broke the 1000m world record, which had been held for 35 years by fellow African Zola Budd – yet another African athlete that caused controversy in the world of International Athletics.
She has become a global Ambassador for women and shares platforms with the likes of the former U.S. President Bill Clinton and the former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Semenya aims to use this recognition to focus on education for women in all areas of South Africa.
What ambition does she hold for the future?
Semenya initially trained to play soccer. This is something she now has ambitions to do again. She hopes to play for the South African Senior Women’s Soccer Team, “Banyana Banyana.” And it seems there is a high probability for success.