JOHANNESBURG - Double Olympic champion Caster Semenya can’t stop grabbing the headlines around the world for her feats on the athletics track.
Now she stands to add another feather in her cap as a nominee for World Sportswoman of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards on Tuesday night.
Having first ascended to the top of the world at the tender age 19 when she was crowned world 800m champion in Berlin in 2009, Semenya has gone on to be one of the most talked about athletes of her generation for what she continues to achieve on the track and unfortunately for issues around her gender too.
But the Limpopo-born track sensation and triple world champion has conquered the world and been able to etch her name as one of the greatest female track athletes of all time even though she is yet to break the world record in the 800m.
While the world record continues to elude her, Semenya’s immediate ambitions will be to walk away with the Laureus award before setting her eyes firmly on participating in her first Commonwealth Games in Australia’s Gold Coast in April.
Semenya has been nominated alongside Serena Williams, Katie Ledecky, Allyson Felix, Mikaela Shiffrin, Gabine Muguruza and is a strong contender to walk away with the award after achievements of winning gold in the 800m and bronze in the 1500m events at last year’s IAAF World Championships in London.
“Those are great sportswomen. Great in what they do. I respect their work. I follow their work. They are phenomenal. They are strong. What I can say, I have one word for them: Fantastic.
"I feel blessed, privileged to be on a list of great women like that. Being nominated with the best, I feel like I am a winner already,” Semenya gushed after her nomination.
After missing the 2010 Games due to injury and the 2014 Games in Glasgow because of the gender scandal, Semenya will head to Australia aiming to win both the 800m and 1500m titles and she has made it clear to her adversaries that she will be satisfied with nothing less than gold.
“I’ll start with nationals in the middle of March and then obviously we will have the Commonwealth Games where I will also try the double again, so I can be able to win two golds. That is the main goal. And then we still have African Champs and the World Cup,” she added.
Semenya is the only South African nominated for this year’s awards with 400m Olympic champion and world record holder Wayde van Niekerk narrowly missing out on winning the Sportsman of the Year prize to Usain Bolt last year.