Caster Semenya was named Athlete of the Century at the Tuks Awards.. Photo: Reg Caldecott

PRETORIA – Caster Semenya and LJ van Zyl on Wednesday were named University of Pretoria (Tuks) Athletes of the Century.

With Tuks established in 1918, it is a significant accolade for both athletes.

Semenya’s performances in the 800 metres have been incredible. The 27-year-old has won gold medals in 2012 as well as 2016 during the Olympic Games; three gold medals at the World Championships (2009, 2011 and 2017). 

More recently Semenya won a bronze medal in the 1500m at the 2017 IAAF Championships. Another highlight was winning gold medals in the 800m and 1 500m at this year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. 

Her best 800m time of 1:54.25 places her fourth on the IAAF all-time list.

Van Zyl, 33, has been one of South Africa’s most prolific international medal winners since 1992. 

He was a junior 400m-hurdles world champion in 2002, won a gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, bronze at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu.

He also helped South Africa to win a silver medal in the 4x400m-relay at the 2006 Games as well as during the 2011 World Championships.

LJ Van Zyl was named Athlete of the Century at the Tuks Awards. Photo: Reg Caldecott
LJ Van Zyl was named Athlete of the Century at the Tuks Awards. Photo: Reg Caldecott

Van Zyl is also the first athlete to set a South African record on the Tuks track. He did so in February 2011 winning in 47.66 seconds. The year 2011 was undoubtedly the pinnacle of Van Zyl's hurdling career. In the space of just 95 days, he managed to break through the magical 48 seconds barrier on four occasions clocking the four fastest times of the year. 

The other Tuks athletes to receive awards: 

Centenary Honorable Recognition Award – June Mackenzie

Most promising Male Athlete of the Year Award – Thembo Monareng

Most Promising Female Athlete of the Year Award – Prudence Sekgodisa

Male Athlete of the Year Award  - Akani Simbine

Female Athlete of the Year Award – Carina Horn

Junior Male Athlete of the Year Award – Sokwakana Zazini

Junior Female Athlete of the Year Award – Yvonne Robson

African News Agency (ANA)


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