Caster Semenya’s clean sweep at SA Sport Awards


Caster Semenya (Pic: Citizen59)

Caster Semenya was the biggest winner at the South African Sport Awards on Sunday night, earning three top accolades at the gala function at Mangaung in the Free State.

The LGBTQ middle-distance star was rewarded for a superb season on the track, which included multiple medals at the Commonwealth Games, CAA African Senior Championships, IAAF Diamond League and IAAF Continental Cup events.

She also shattered national records over the 400m, 800m, 1 000m and 1 500m distances.

At the ceremony, Semenya was named Sports Star of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year, as well as People’s Choice Sports Star of the Year – which was decided by public vote. Semenya’s coach, Samuel Sepeng, was also recognised as Coach of the Year.

“This a well-deserved and just reward for Caster and Samuel, for they have had to work much harder for success after having to fend off loads of distractions aimed at her performances,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa. “We trust this will inspire other athletes, especially female athletes whom she represents as a role model.”

Semenya is currently challenging regulations imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that aim to force her to have medically unnecessary hormone therapy to reduce her testosterone levels. If not, she will be blocked from running against other women.

She has filed a case against the IAAF with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland arguing that she is entitled to compete the way she was born without being obliged to alter her body by medical means.

Activists agree, with Human Rights Watch stating that the IAAF regulations “are at root a form of judgment and a questioning of women’s sex and gender identity.”

Semenya is a three-time 800m world champion and won silver at the 2012 Summer Olympics and gold in the 800 metre event at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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