International News

Caster Semenya chooses gold over critics

CARLI-ANN FURNO

Former UP-Tuks student and athlete Caster Semenya (25) won gold in the 800 m with a time of 1:55.28lmin on 20 August 2016. This was her personal best time, but also the fifth fastest time in Olympic history and a new South African record. The middle distance runner bettered her qualifying time of 1:59.3 min by over 4 s. This medal adds to her tally of gold at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, and two silver medals from the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics respectively. Semenya was the first person to win the 400 m, 800lm and 1 500 m titles at the South African National Championships.

As a former UP athlete, Semenya’s gold hits close to home and is celebrated by TuksAthletics. Hennie Kriel, coach of TuksHigh and Olympic sprinters Clarence Munyai and Gift Leotlela, spoke to Perdeby about her achievement and the impact it has on TuksAthletics: “What a tremendous honour it is for Tuks to have played a part in this story. We [UP] will always cherish Caster’s performances and have fond memories of her,” said Kriel. He went on to elaborate about the impact this has for South African athletics and women athletes in particular. “This achievement will inspire our athletes, and especially our women athletes. It will show them what they can do through application and hard work,” said Kriel.

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