World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Caster Semenya

Article Id: WHEBN0024019501
Reproduction Date:

Title: Caster Semenya  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 2009 World Championships in Athletics – Women's 800 metres, 2009 African Junior Athletics Championships, South Africa at the 2012 Summer Olympics, South Africa at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, Santhi Soundarajan
Collection: 1991 Births, Athletes (Track and Field) at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Gender Verification in Sports, Living People, Medalists at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Northern Sotho People, Olympic Athletes of South Africa, Olympic Medalists in Athletics (Track and Field), Olympic Silver Medalists for South Africa, People from Capricorn District Municipality, Recipients of the Order of Ikhamanga, South African Middle-Distance Runners, South African Sportswomen, University of Pretoria Alumni, World Championships in Athletics Athletes for South Africa, World Championships in Athletics Medalists
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya
Personal information
Nationality South African
Born (1991-01-07) 7 January 1991
Pietersburg (now Polokwane)
Residence South Africa
Alma mater University of Pretoria
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 64 kg (141 lb)
Sport Running
Event(s) 800 metres, 1500 metres
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 800m: 1:55.45
1500m: 4:08.01

Mokgadi Caster Semenya (born 7 January 1991) is a South African middle-distance runner and world champion.[1][2] Semenya won gold in the women's 800 metres at the 2009 World Championships with a time of 1:55.45 in the final. Semenya also won silver medals at the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Summer Olympics, both in the 800 metres. Following her victory at the 2009 World Championships, it was announced that she had been subjected to gender testing.[2] She was withdrawn from international competition until 6 July 2010 when the IAAF cleared her to return to competition.[3][4] In 2010, the British magazine New Statesman included Semenya in a list of "50 People That Matter 2010".[5]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
    • 2008 2.1
    • 2009 2.2
    • Gender test 2.3
    • 2010 2.4
    • 2012 2.5
  • Personal life and honors 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and education

Semenya was born in Ga-Masehlong, a village in South Africa near Polokwane (back then called Pietersburg), and grew up in the village of Fairlie, "deep in South Africa's northern Limpopo province."[1][6] She has three sisters and a brother, and is said to have been a tomboy as a child.[6][7]

Semenya attended Nthema Secondary School and now attends the University of Pretoria as a sports science student.[2][8] She began running as training for soccer.[9]



In July Semenya participated in the 2008 World Junior Championships, and won the gold in the 800 m at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games with a time of 2:04.23.[10]


In the African Junior Championships Semenya won both the 800 m and 1500 m races with the times of 1:56.72 and 4:08.01 respectively.[11][12] With that race she improved her 800 m personal best by seven seconds in less than nine months, including four seconds in that race alone.[2][13] The 800 m time was the world leading time in 2009 at that date.[13] It was also a national record and a championship record. Semenya simultaneously beat the Senior and Junior South African records held by Zelda Pretorius at 1:58.85, and Zola Budd at 2:00.90, respectively.[14]

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) says it was "obliged to investigate" after she made improvements of 25 seconds at 1500 m and eight seconds at 800 m – "the sort of dramatic breakthroughs that usually arouse suspicion of drug use."[15] The IAAF also asked Semenya to undergo a gender test after the win.[16][note 1] News that the IAAF requested the test broke three hours before the 2009 World Championships 800 m final.[13] IAAF president Lamine Diack stated, "There was a leak of confidentiality at some point and this led to some insensitive reactions."[19]

In August Semenya won gold in the 800 metres at the World Championships with a time of 1:55.45 in the final, again setting the fastest time of the year.[20]

Gender test

Following her victory at the world championships, questions were raised about her gender.[2][13][21][22]

The IAAF's handling of the case spurred many negative reactions. A number of athletes, including retired sprinter

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Natalie du Toit
Flagbearer for  South Africa
London 2012
Succeeded by
  • Caster Semenya profile at IAAF
  • Interview with Semenya after the 2009 World Championship 800 m Semi-final Part 1, Part 2 YouTube
  • "Where's the Rulebook for Sex Verification?", New York Times, 21 August 2009 (Retrieved 31 January 2010)

External links

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c d e
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^ SAfrican in gender flap gets gold for 800 win 22 August 2009, By RYAN LUCAS, Associated Press Writer
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b c d
  14. ^ South African teen Semenya stuns with 1:56.72 800m World lead in Bambous – African junior champs, Day 2 IAAF, 31 July 2009
  15. ^ a b Caster Semenya row: 'Who are white people to question the makeup of an African girl? It is racism': The decision to subject the gold medal-winning athlete Caster Semenya to sex tests over claims Caster is a man has provoked outrage in her village and throughout South Africa David Smith, The Observer, 23 August 2009
  16. ^ a b c
  17. ^ Scant support for sex test on champion athlete New Scientist
  18. ^ "Caster Semenya faces sex test before she can claim victory" The Times, 19 August 2009
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Women's world champion Semenya faces gender test CNN, 20 August 2009
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b
  26. ^ SA to take up Semenya case with UN The Times SA, 21 August 2009
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ Dewey takes up Semenya case in IAAF dispute – Legalweek Magazine
  33. ^ Dewey & LeBoeuf to advise Caster Semenya – Times Online
  34. ^ Dewey & LeBoeuf Retained to Protect Rights of South African Runner Caster Semenya – press release from Dewey & LeBoeuf.
  35. ^ a b Jere Longman "South African Runner’s Sex-Verification Result Won’t Be Public" New York Times, 19 November 2009
  36. ^ Track and Field News, 22 December 2009 Vol 8 Number 59
  37. ^
  38. ^ Yahoo News, 18 July 2010: Semenya easily wins again in Finland
  39. ^ AP article
  40. ^ CBC, 21 July 2010: Semenya has eyes on Commonwealth Games
  41. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (10 September 2010). Howe, Semenya, and Yenew highlight in Milan. IAAF. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
  42. ^ The Hindu, 29 September 2010: Injured Semenya pulls out of Commonwealth Games
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^ [1]
  50. ^ [2]
  51. ^ [3]


  1. ^ The IAAF ceased compulsory tests in 1992 but retains the right to test athletes.[17] Gender verification was dropped from Olympic sports in 1999 as the issue was delicate and scientifically complicated. The verification involves "an endocrinologist, a gynaecologist, an internal medicine expert, an expert on gender and a psychologist" and takes several weeks. This is not the first time the IAAF has asked for gender verification although generally the athletes maintain their privacy.[18]

Explanatory notes


See also

Semenya denied reports from the Daily Sun that she had paid lobola to the family of Violet Raseboya,[49] telling The Sowetan that she was focused exclusively on her studies and athletics, with no wedding planned.[50][51]

Semenya received the bronze Order of Ikhamanga on April 27, 2014, as part of Freedom Day festivities.[48]

Personal life and honors

Caster Semenya was chosen to carry the country's flag during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics.[43] She later won a silver medal in the women's 800 metres of these games, with a time of 1:57.23 seconds, her season's best. She passed six competitors in the last 150 metres, but did not pass world champion Mariya Savinova of Russia, who took gold in a time of 1:56.19, finishing 1.04 seconds before Semenya.[44] During the BBC coverage after the race, former British hurdler, Colin Jackson raised the question whether Semenya had thrown the race, as the time that had been run was well within her capability,[45][46] though it is worth noting that Semenya has only once in her life run faster than Savinova's winning time, which was when winning the 2009 World title.[47]


In September, 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."[5]

Not being on full form, she did not enter the World Junior Championships or the African Championships, both held in July 2010, and opted to target the Commonwealth Games to be held in October 2010.[40] She improved her season's best to 1:58.16 at the Notturna di Milano meeting in early September and returned to South Africa to prepare for the Commonwealth Games.[41] Eventually, she was forced to skip the games due to injury.[42]

On 6 July, the IAAF cleared Semenya to return to international competition. The results of the gender tests, however, were not released for privacy reasons.[3] She returned to competition nine days later winning two minor races in Finland.[38] On 22 August 2010, running on the same track as her World Championship victory, Semenya started slowly but finished strongly, dipping under 2:00 for the first time since the controversy, while winning the ISTAF meet in Berlin.[39]

In March 2010 she was denied the opportunity to compete in the local Yellow Pages Series V Track and Field event in Stellenbosch, South Africa, because the IAAF had yet to release its findings from her gender test.[37]

Semenya on the 2010 Diamond League circuit


In November 2009 South Africa's sports ministry issued a statement that Semenya had reached an agreement with the IAAF to keep her medal and the prize money.[35] The ministry did not say if she would be allowed to compete as a woman but they did note that the IAAF's threshold for when a female is considered ineligible to compete as a woman is unclear.[35] In December 2009 Track and Field News voted Semenya the Number One Women's 800 metre runner of the year.[36]

On 7 September 2009, Wilfred Daniels, Semenya's coach with Athletics South Africa (ASA), resigned because he felt that ASA "did not advise Ms. Semenya properly". He apologized for personally having failed to protect her.[30] ASA President Leonard Chuene admitted on 19 September 2009 to having subjected Semenya to gender tests. He had previously lied to Semenya about the purpose of the tests and to others about having performed the tests. He ignored a request from ASA team doctor Harold Adams to withdraw Semenya from the world championships over concerns about the need to keep her medical records confidential.[31] On the recommendation of South Africa's Minister for Sport and Recreation, Makhenkesi Stofile, Semenya retained the legal firm Dewey & LeBoeuf who are acting pro bono "to make certain that her civil and legal rights and dignity as a person are fully protected."[32][33][34] Following the furore over her gender, Semenya received great support within South Africa,[16][23] to the extent of being called a cause célèbre.[25]

[29] with the magazine.makeover Semenya stated, "God made me the way I am and I accept myself." She also took part in a YOU In an interview with South African magazine [28] The president of the IAAF stated that the case could have been handled with more sensitivity.[27] The federation also explained that the motivation for the test was not suspected cheating but a desire to determine whether she had a "rare medical condition" giving her an unfair competitive advantage.[26][15] The IAAF said it only made the test public after it had already been reported in the media, denying charges of racism and expressing regret about "the allegations being made about the reasons for which these tests are being conducted."[25][24], as well as an affront to Semenya's privacy and human rights.racist Prominent South African civic leaders, commentators, politicians, and activists characterized the controversy as [23][16]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.