If you are not a fan of Caster Semenya, then what are you doing? The South African athlete is the ultimate sporting and just general life inspiration. The week she made the news when it was announced that she had earned her sports diploma at the University of Pretoria. The previous week she was outchea breaking sporting records. In this second installment of this week’s #FanGirlFriday, SHAAZIA EBRAHIM and FATIMA MOOSA write about why Caster Semenya is life.
She broke a 35 year old record
Caster Semenya has many records and medals in her repertoire and she continues to add them by the day. During the Athletix Grand Prix Games in Pretoria early this month, Caster broke a 35 year old record! The previous record had been set by Ilze Wicksell in 1983. She won the 1 000m in a time of two minutes 35.43 seconds setting a new South African record. Caster beat the record by almost two seconds which is a lot in athletic terms.
Speaking after her victory, Semenya said: “It’s fantastic if you train towards your goals and with a fantastic team behind you anything is possible, all we have to go do now is go celebrate!”
— Grit Sports® (@Grit_Sports) March 8, 2018
Caster came through with the academic excellence – and officially graduated recently
Not only is she breaking records, Semenya is stacking qualifications too. We all knew she was a sports science student at the University of Pretoria, and this week she came through with her degree. Semenya posted a picture on Instagram on Wednesday of herself in her graduate gown with the caption #mamaimadeit. Her wife, Violet Raseboya, who took the picture posted a message to her on Instagram just days before the graduation saying: “She is a person. She has hope. She respect others. She has faith. She is smart. She is dedicated. She is powerful and she is strong. Mokgadi Semenya Sa Mma MASAI Congrats, what’s more?”
We couldn’t say it better ourselves.
She has won all of the records and awards
She was nominated for the Sportswoman of the Year at this year’s Laureus World Sports Awards. While she didn’t win (Serena Williams took home the accolade), Semenya said she was just happy that she had been nominated for the award.
“To be honest it was a great experience to be nominated with the world’s best and I’m just blessed,” she said.
Semenya is a multiple Olympian winning medallist. Some of the records that she has includes gold in the 800m at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games in London and Rio de Janeiro respectively. She won gold in the 800m at the 2009, 2011, and 2017 World Championships. During the 2017 World Championships, Semenya competed in the 1 500m as well, bringing home the bronze.
However, the 800m is the race that she is best at and she won the gold in that as well as at the 2015 All-Africa Games and 2016 African Championships. At the 2016 African Championships which were held in Durban, Caster took home the gold for the 1 500m as well as the 4x400m relay.
Way back in 2010 already, British magazine, The New Statesman named her as one of 50 People who Matter.
Despite the controversies that cloud her, Caster has remained unapologetically herself
Semenya has been through the most since she became champion at the women’s 800m World Athletics Championships in Berlin in 2009 at the age of 18. The athlete has been ridiculed, stripped, had her place and gender in world athletics questioned publicly and invasively scrutinised. This was even though she was cleared to compete by the International Association of Athletics Federations in 2010. Yet she still kept her head above the water and focussed on breaking records and doing the things. Once, when a reporter asked her about the rumors that she wasn’t a woman, she responded by saying, “I have no idea about that. I don’t know. I don’t give a damn about it.” (Skip to 0:49).
Caster has all the swagger
Remember that time in 2016 when she graced the cover of Elle magazine? That was a great moment. Elle featured Semenya clad in Nike Beautiful X Powerful Collection and it was a thing of beauty and breaking barriers. But generally, we’re just here for her sneaker game and athleisure vibe because it is just goals!