South African sprinter Caster Semenya has sealed her first medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, claiming gold at the 1500m event on Tuesday night. With Kenyan world champion Faith Kipyegon and Scotland’s Laura Muir absent, the 27-year-old powered a new Games record of 4 minutes 0.71 seconds.
On Friday, Semenya will compete on the 800m final, aiming to claim her second medal of the Games. Back in 2012 and 2016, she achieved the top of the podium at both the London and Rio Olympics’ 800m event.
“It’s about sports” – Semenya
Semenya, who carried the flag for South Africa at the Games opening ceremony, has hyperandrogenism, meaning that she has an excess of male sex hormones in her body. Due to this, she has constantly battled with controversy throughout her career. In 2009, she even underwent sex verification tests following that year’s athletics championships.
"It's not about looking at people [and] how they look, how they speak, how they run," Semenya recently told the Sydney Morning Herald. "You know, it's not about being muscular. It's about sports,' she said. 'When you walk out of your apartment, you think about performing. You don't think about how your opponents look. You just want to do better."
#CasterSemenya has won a gold medal in the 1500 metres at the #CommonWealthGames in Australia. She set a new Games record of 4 minutes 0.71 seconds, also her own personal best. pic.twitter.com/jjo7f90MCh— SABC News Online (@SABCNewsOnline) 10 April 2018
Congratulatory messages pour in
People across South Africa have taken to Twitter to voice their gratitude to the sprinter and to express “proud to be South African” phrases.
Congratulations to Caster Semenya for breaking the national record and games record as well in a time of 4:00:72. Well done @caster800m we are so proud of you.#GC2018#GC2018athletics#TeamMzanzi 🇿🇦🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/3AYsvG6Bww— Donald (@Donald_Emkay) 10 April 2018
Caster Semenya has made South Africa proud once again by winning gold in the women's 1500m race and even broke the Commonwealth Games record, as well as the 1984 record of SA's Zola Budd, clocking a time of 4:00.7. Congratulations @caster800m! #SportsDiplomacy #Commonwealth2018 pic.twitter.com/LIXXyzJjOL— DIRCO South Africa (@DIRCO_ZA) 10 April 2018
Caster Semenya is a national treasure✊🏼— Man's Not Sober (@MusiQ4TheSouls) 10 April 2018