How the world reacted to Caster Semenya’s victory

    We didn’t for a second doubt that Mokgadi Caster Semenya would bring home that gold in the 800m, despite the brutal scrutiny by fellow competitors, sports officials, journalists and viewers. And the world sat up and noticed.

    The Daily Nation

    Caster headline Daily Nation
    “Controversial South African runner Caster Semenya produced a devastating sprint finish to claim the Olympic 800m crown, four years after being denied gold by Russian dope cheat Mariya Savinova.

    The 25-year-old 2012 silver medallist turned on the gas with 150m to go, crossing the line more than 1.20sec clear in 1min 55.28sec at the Olympic Stadium.”

    The Herald Nigeria 

    “Caster Semenya won her first Olympic Games gold medal with a dominant display in the final of the women’s 800m in Rio. The South African star set a new personal best of 1:55.33 over the two-lap distance and broke the national record in going one better than her silver medal performance at London 2012.

    “Her winning time was two seconds adrift of the world record of 1:53:28, set by Jarmila Kratochvilova, running for Czechoslovakia, in July 1983.”

    The Huffington Post:

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    “Semenya has dominated the 800m this season and there had been speculation she could take down Czech Jarmila Kratochivilova’s 1983 time of 1:53:28 seconds – the longest standing athletics world record, set in an era when eastern European doping was rife. After winning the silver medal in London four years ago, the 24-year-old South African has recorded three of the four fastest times in the world this year.”


    “Among athletes with intersex conditions, none is as prominent nor as magnificently gifted as Semenya. Seven years ago, while still a teenager, she destroyed her rivals in the 800 meters at the track and field world championships.

    “Semenya’s full ability has now been unleashed. Last month, she ran a personal best in the 800 meters. At the South African championships in April, she won races at three different distances on the same day. Tucker, who watched the events, says she wasn’t even going all out.”

    The New York Times

    “Experts do not suggest that Semenya has taken banned substances. No one serious is calling her a man. No prominent voices suggest that separate categories should not exist for women’s and men’s sports.

    “But many remain concerned that women’s sports will be threatened if some athletes are allowed to compete with a testosterone advantage, even if athletes are reluctant to address the testosterone issue during the Olympics.”

    The Guardian

    “On Saturday night, Caster Semenya won the 800m in 1min 55.28sec. It was a personal best, a new South African national record, and the fifth-fastest time in Olympic history. And it just may be that she never gets to run so fast again. Semenya, 25, is hyperandrogenic and the IAAF believe that she, and all other hyperandrogenic athletes, should not be allowed to compete unless they take action to suppress their naturally high testosterone levels.”

    The Daily Mail

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    “Britain’s Lynsey Sharp has reignited the row over controversial South African runner Caster Semenya by admitting it was ‘difficult’ to race against her.

    “Sharp had previously complained Semenya’s condition had resulted in ‘two separate races’ ran a personal best time in the weekend final – but still finished nearly two and a half seconds behind Semenya.

    “This fact proved rich pickings for Sharp’s online critics, who demanded to know why the Scottish runner was ‘picking on Caster’ and not the four other runners who also comfortably beat her.”

    The BBC

    caster headline BBC

    “Semenya, 25, set a national record to win in one minute 55.28 seconds and finish well clear of silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi.”

    “Semenya has faced continued questions over her eligibility to race since her impressive 2009 World Championship win as an 18-year-old, with concerns raised that she should not be able to run as a woman.

    She has since been diagnosed with hyperandrogenism, which means her testosterone levels are far in excess of the vast majority of women.”

    The Irish Examiner

    Caster headline Irish Examiner

    “Caster Semenya won the Olympic title in the 800m Saturday with no-one close to challenging her, a result that will only stoke the complex debate over whether women with much higher levels of testosterone than normal should be allowed to compete unchecked.

    Semenya, of South Africa, won her first Olympic gold in a personal-best of 1 minute, 55.28 seconds, a national record and one of the top 20 times ever in the two-lap race.”