Caster Semenya (Pic: Tab59)
South African Olympian Caster Semenya has been nominated by the international media for the World Sportswoman of the Year for the 2018 Laureus Sports Awards.
The openly LGBTI athlete joins a stellar list of other nominees: Spanish Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza and four Americans; Australian Open champion Serena Williams, 16-time world athletics championship medalist Allyson Felix, swimming sensation Katie Ledecky and Overall World Cup champion skier Mikaela Shiffrin.
Semenya took to Facebook to acknowledge the nomination, writing: “It’s really an honor to be nominated for the Laureus awards… Blessed are those who believe in the Lord and place everything in his hands.”
Semenya is a three-time 800m world champion and won silver at the 2012 Summer Olympics and gold at the 800 metre event at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The 27-year-old Polokwane-born runner has stayed defiant in the face of years of humiliating media and public scrutiny.
Semenya found herself in the world’s spotlight in 2009 when she won the 800 metres at the Berlin Athletics World Championships and then became the subject of investigations, medical tests and brutal speculation about her gender and sex.
The IAAF has never released the results of its tests but in July 2010 gave Semenya the all-clear to compete. South Africans have consistently rallied around the athlete, who has become an LGBTI sports icon around the globe.
In January last year, Semenya followed her 2015 traditional marriage ceremony to longtime partner and wife Violet Raseboya with a ‘white wedding’ that made global headlines.
The Laureus World Sports Awards honours the greatest men, women and teams in sport. The nominees are chosen by a panel of leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters.
The 2018 winners will be announced at a glamorous ceremony in Monaco on 27 February, which will be broadcast internationally.