Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Sports Crush Saturday- Caster Semenya

Sports Crush Saturday- Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya

This week Sports Crush Saturday features South African Middle-distance runner and two-time Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya who some describe as resilient, gifted and well decorated. 

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

South African middle-distance runner and two-time Olympian gold medallist Caster Semenya was born in Ga-Masehlong, a small village near Polokwane in Limpopo. She explains her days as a youngling as spent in the mountains and bushes seeking adventure and as she got to high school, she took interest in and joined the soccer team at Nthema Secondary School, training everyday and occasionally running from village to village.

The double Olympic gold medallist left home to study Sports Science at the University of North West. It was at university where the light began to shine on her path as an athlete. Semenya’s talent for running became obvious when she participated in the 2008 World Junior Championships, bagging a gold medal in the 800m, although Semenya did not qualify for the 2008 World Junior Championships she did not let it get in her way or to bring her spirit down. Instead Caster went on to win another gold medal at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in the same year with a time of 2:04.23.

In the 2009 season, Caster saw a great success. She returned to African Junior Championships with a fresh mind and new energy to win both the 800m and 1500m races with the times of 1:56.72 and 4:08.01. She improved her 800 m personal best by a good seven seconds in what was no more than nine months.  Her performance in the 800m race blew her competitors away as she simultaneously broke the 800m Senior and Junior South African Records held by Zelda Pretorius at 1:58.85 and Zola Budd at 2:00.90, respectively.

Later that year Semenya won gold in the 800m World Championships with an impressive time of 1:55.45 in the final, making her the fastest of the year. How about that! As earned, the two-time Olympic gold medallist was voted Number One Women’s 800-metre runner of the year by Track and Field News in December of the same year. 

Semenya also referred to as “Cobra” by some of her fans left the sports industry shook by her powerful return. She beat her previous 800m best by four seconds at the African Junior Championships just a month earlier, gaining traction and attention from the media and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) leading to a bit of a shake down in her career and spirit. The shenanigans went on for some months leading Caster being denied the opportunity to compete in the local Yellow Pages Series V Track and Field event 2010 that took place in March 2010 in Stellenbosch.

Caster Semenya

Later that year the IAAF cleared her to compete again since then Caster has won 11 gold medals along with 2 silvers and one bronze at sanctioned events. And with all the new regulations and bans put in place by the International Association of Athletics Federations Caster keeps a strong spirit. I believe no less than greater strides will be coming from this phenomenal and decorated athlete. 

As a way of paying it forward Semenya also co-founded the Masai Athletics club in 2018 with her wife, Violet and close friend, Koketso Mogapi. The club aims to find young athletes at a grassroots level and developing the next generation of track and field stars. They operate in Pretoria and Soweto with over 60 young athletes competing in some of South Africa’s top running competitions.

That’s it for this week's edition of Sports Crush Saturday!

Written by Hazel Tobo for Hollywoodbets
 Two women looking excitedly at cellphone