She inspires Mzansi with her incredible feats on the track and the fight she puts up off it, and now Caster Semenya has done it again in a new Nike ad.
The sportswear giants have stood behind Semenya throughout her battles with the IAAF, and now the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), who ruled in favour of the athletics governing body with regards to female classification for athletes with high testosterone levels.
And earlier this week, Nike produced a new video in which they show Semenya coaching young athletes, but with a ‘bigger-picture’ message from the Olympic and world 800m champion as well, with the caption ‘Be whoever you want to be’.
“What I want to be, what I want to become, being on the track, being free, being what I love…
“I’m one kind of an athlete. I run my own race. It’s all about me.
“I’ve learned to appreciate people for who they are. But first it comes with me appreciating myself and loving myself,” she says.
On Tuesday, Semenya criticised the IAAF and the CAS panel that ruled against her recently. She has been backed up by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, who decided that the CAS ruling be suspended until her appeal is heard.
“The IAAF used me in the past as a human guinea pig to experiment with how the medication they required me to take would affect my testosterone levels,” Semenya said in a statement from her legal team.
“Even though the hormonal drugs made me feel constantly sick, the IAAF now wants to enforce even stricter thresholds with unknown health consequences.
“I will not allow the IAAF to use me and my body again.
“But I am concerned that other female athletes will feel compelled to let the IAAF drug them and test the effectiveness and negative health effects of different hormonal drugs. This cannot be allowed to happen.”
Semenya’s next race is set to be in the 3 000m at the Prefontaine Classic in California on 30 June, although she is hoping to run in the 800m at the event instead.@ashfakmohamed