Caster Semenya honoured with Athlete of the Year award

Pic: gsport4girls

Pic: gsport4girls

A week after winning an Olympic Gold medal, Caster Semenya has been honoured as South Africa’s Athlete of the Year, at the SPAR gsport Awards.

The awards, held at The Venue in Melrose Arch on Saturday night, aim to raise the profile of South African women in sport, and to encourage corporate South Africa to back female athletes.

The Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, also presented Semenya with the 2016 Minister’s Recognition of Excellence Award alongside Banyana Banyana football ace, Amanda Dlamini, former netball international, Simnikiwe Mdaka, Comrades Marathon winner, Charne Bosman and Wayde van Niekerk’s gold medal-winning coach, Tannie Ans Botha.

Semenya received standing ovations when she took to the stage to receive her awards.

She thanked her “fellow South Africans for the great support you’ve given me over the past few weeks. It’s just so fantastic.”

The Olympic champion went on to add: “I dedicate this award to my haters.”

Semenya’s 800m gold medal at the Rio Olympics followed weeks of unprecedented controversy and what many described as bullying by the media and other athletes who believe that she should not have been allowed to compete because of her unusually high testosterone levels.

Under tremendous pressure, the 25-year-old Olympian went on to win her race; handling the cruel and invasive intrusions into her personal life with grace and class.

Semenya married fellow runner Violet Raseboya in a traditional ceremony in December last year. She was only one of two openly LGBT South Africa athletes to compete at the Rio Games.

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