By Yemi Babalola Lagos, Nigeria
The amazon we would be examining today is long distance runner Caster Semenya; she is a South African athlete who took the track and field event by storm when she broke out. She was born on January 8, 1991 in a village in South Africa called Ga-Masehlong near Polokwane; she was raised alongside four siblings in the village of Fairlie, which is geographically, north of Limpopo province.
Semenya attended Nthema Secondary School and now attends the University of Pretoria as a sports science student. She began running as training for soccer, which was her first interest when she began sporting activities.
Semenya’s career took off from the year 2008 when she participated in July in the world junior championships and won a gold medal in the 800m race. As well in the same year, she participated in the Commonwealth youth games of 2008 at Pune, in India. Where she became notable for long distance racing.
Other notable victories for Semenya is the gold she pick at the All African Games of 2015 which took place in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo for the 800m race where she won first position once again. In 2016, at the African Championships held in Durban, South Africa, which is on home soil for Semenya, she became the first person to win simultaneously the 400m, 800m and 1500m titles at the championships.
Off track, notable institutions have recognized Semenya. In September 2010, the British magazine NEW STATESMAN included Semenya in its annual list of ‘’50 People That Matter’’ for unintentionally instigating “an international and often ill-tempered debate on gender politics, feminism, and race, becoming an inspiration to gender campaigners around the world.
While, at home in South Africa, she was awarded the South African Sportswoman of the year in Sun City, likewise, Semenya received the bronze Order of Ikhamanga on April 27 2014, as part of Freedom Day festivities. In October 2016, the IAAF announced that Semenya was shortlisted for women’s 2016 World Athlete of the Year.
Semenya has had her own fair share of off track challenges, notably the controversy surrounding her gender, she did eventually overcome and the IAAF cleared Semenya to return to international competition. The results of the gender tests, however, were not released for privacy reasons.
Semenya got married to her long-term partner Violet Raseboya in a very flamboyant ceremony earlier this year, few days to her 26th birthday. She has indeed become a force to reckon with and very much active on the track.