7 Things We Bet You Never Knew About Caster Semenya


Gina Beretta |

By Gina Beretta; Photography by Gallo Images/Getty Images

Flourish, girl, flourish!

Let’s be honest, we all love Caster Semenya. She sprinted into our hearts when she won her first medal at 18. Our hearts once again swelled with pride this weekend when she took gold at the world championship in London in the Women’s 800-meter event.

Caster keeps flourishing, even after all the controversy that is thrown her way. So we’ve decided to take a closer look at her accomplishments… and they’re seriously impressive.

READ MORE: 6 Sports Women Who Totally Changed the Game

1. This is her third world title

Back in 2009, an 18-year-old Caster blew everyone away at the World Championships when she set a time of 1:55:45 for the 800-meter event, claiming her first world title. In fact, she set a new South African National record like a #Boss. She also claimed the 2011 world title retrospectively after Russian athlete, Mariya Savinova, who initially won the race was stripped of her title after she was caught doping.

2. The 800-meter isn’t actually her favourite event 

She might be famous for nailing those 800-meter races, but she actually prefers a little more distance. She told The Guardian, “I like [the 1,500-meter] race more than any other,” she explained. “I like how you can sit back and relax, and wait for the right moment, it’s not like the 800 where you just need to go.”

3. The ‘haters’ don’t bother her

When a reporter famously asked her about the rumours that she wasn’t in fact a women, she fired back with “I have no idea about that. I don’t know. I don’t give a damn about it”. 

4. She’s still studying 

Yes, she works hard on and off the track. She’s currently a sports science student at the North West University in Potchefstroom.

READ MORE: The Crazy Way Sexism In Sports Is Alive And Thriving

5. She’s also a two-time Olympic champion

Caster is  a familiar face at the games, having first competed back in 2012 at the London Olympics where she won a silver for the Women’s 800-meter event. But she was retrospectively awarded gold in February this year when Mariya Savinova was stripped of all her titles for 2010-2013. Caster also took gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics with a time of 1:55:23.

6. She was named as one of British magazine New Statesman‘s “50 People That Matter 2010”

New Statesman recognised Caster’s greatness way back in 2010 when they included her in their annual ’50 People That Matter’ list. Calling her an ‘Intersex Symbol’, the magazine recognised her power to change the world after she unintentionally started an international debate on gender and athletics. After much controversy the IAAF changed their policy on hyperandrogenism. In case you weren’t aware, they previously ruled that any female athlete with higher levels of testosterone would have to take testosterone-suppressing medication in order to compete. Many people believe that this is why Caster’s pace slowed down during this time.

7. Her time is almost unbeatable 

Caster’s win over the weekend saw her beating own personal record. Her seriously fast time of 1:55:16 is also the fastest in the world for the year. So far, only 7 other woman have run the same event faster. She’s a real-life Road Runner. Beep Beep!

Looking for more sports news? Check out the 5 new Olympics sports that’ll you’ll be able to see at the 2020 games and brush up your knowledge on SA’s female sporting heroes.

READ MORE ON: Fitness SA Women In Sport

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