She is facing a career-threatening ruling from the IAAF, but that is not stopping Caster Semenya from being recognised for her tremendous talent, mental strength and poise.
The reigning Olympic and world champion in the 800m has taken the IAAF to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to challenge the proposed new Eligibility Regulations for the Female Classification of Athletes with Differences of Sex Development (DSD).
It was supposed to be implemented from November 1, but due to the objections from Semenya and Athletics South Africa, the IAAF have opted to postpone it until March next year, with the CAS expected to hold their hearing in either Lausanne or Geneva from February 18-25 and announce their decision in March.
But on Wednesday night in New York, the 27-year-old received the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award from the Women’s Sports Foundation and Billie Jean King.
“Congratulations to the @WomensSportsFdn 2018 Wilma Rudolph Courage Award winner, the indomitable @caster800m. #WSFAnnualSalute” King tweeted afterwards as she posted a picture of herself with Semenya.
The South African star is enjoying her off-season at the moment after another superb season, where she won the Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 800m and 1 500m, as well as the 400m and 800m titles at the African Championships.
She was in the spotlight recently in a Nike ad campaign, which also included NFL star Colin Kaepernick, while she met basketball legend LeBron James, who came to watch her race in Berlin.
“You know, in American language they say ‘you’re dope’. He told me to keep on working hard, I’m a special kid. I was deeply touched,” Semenya told the Associated Press (AP) in New York about James.
About the Nike ad, she said to AP: “It’s just to inspire the youth, to be honest. They see light in me. So they can see a better future.
“You cannot control what other people say. I’m the one who can control that by being me. By being that kid that they raised. That kid with respect and a sense of humour.
“South Africa is a rainbow nation for me. I stand for my country, I stand for my people, I stand for people who love and support me. They appreciate me for who I am. It’s fantastic.”