Bagging the Olympic gold medal and completely dominating track events from the 200m to the 1500m, Caster Semenya now has carte blanche to give the history books a makeover over the next few years.
Semenya ruled the track with an iron fist this year winning 23 out of 24 finals across four individual events – 200m, 400m, 800m, and 1500m — including her gold medal run at the Rio Olympic Games in the two-lap event.
The 25-year-old blew away the competition in the final at the Rio showcase posting a new national 800m record of 1:55.28 to win the Olympic title.
In the process she became the country’s first female track gold medallist since readmission adding to the silver she won four years before in London.
She posted a new personal best best in the one-lap sprint at the final Diamond League meeting of the year in Brussels in September clocking 50.40 seconds to shave 0.34s off her previous best.
“It has been an amazing year, obviously credit needs to go to the team, I have a great team that we built in a short period of time,” Semenya said after she was crowned SA Sportswoman of the Year in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
“It has been two years now since I moved to Potch so they have done a fantastic job, the support system is great and obviously the support I get from the family and friends and entire nation boosts the morale.
“It makes you believe in yourself and encourages you to do better so it is just a fantastic.”
At the this year’s National Track and Field Championship in Stellenbosch she become the first South African to win the 400m, 800m and 1500m titles.
Semenya has expressed her appetite to become the first female to running a sub-50 time in the 400m, dip below 1:55 in her specialist 800m event, and clock a sub-four minute time in the 1500m.
Although she has demonstrated the speed over the one-lap, Semenya is perhaps better suited over the middle-distance events.
At the African Athletics Championships in June, Semenya stopped the clock 0.18 seconds short of Zola Budd’s 32-year-old of 4:01.81 she set in Port Elizabeth in 1986.
Semenya claimed the continental title in the 1 500m in a time of 4:01.99 taking almost seven seconds off her previous best.
“The most important thing is to dip below 1:55 in the 800 metres and four minutes in the 1500m, the 400 metres is more playing with speed,” she said.
“I am not really a 400m runner, I play around with my strength and speed so that I can kick toward the end. It is not something I am looking of really but if I can break 50 seconds it would be great.”
In the buildup to this year’s Olympic Games it was believed Semenya would be racing the 400-800m double at the quadrennial showpiece but she wisely opted to focus on her specialist event.
But as she discovers her potential and limitations, Semenya has her sights set on doing a double — whether 400-800m or 800-1500m — at major competitions.
“With me it is more complicated because we are not sure what can of athlete I am whether I am more geared towards the sprints or the middle distances so we are still figuring it out,” Semenya said.
“I will still play around with speed and distance so that I can be better so I can double up at the championships.”
In the meantime Semenya will get back in training after taking a break from the track where she indulged in her favourite cheat food - hamburgers.
"The coach got 'fired' for three months so I have to reinstate him now, I have been eating burgers and things like that to recover the body tissues and things like that. Burgers are my biggest fans."