Ranked among the fastest women in the world, Caster Semenya is a South African-born middle distance runner who has won several laurels including 2 Olympic gold medals in the 800m women’s final. Semenya first made international headlines as an 18-year old, following her victory at the 2009 World Championships, in Berlin.
However, her dominance at the games stirred up a worldwide controversy on whether her pronounced masculine attributes gave her an unfair advantage over her fellow female athletes. Semenya was made to undergo series of intrusive sex-verification tests and she equally faced criticisms from the media and even some of her fellow competitors. At some point, she was barred from international competitions and even had to take treatment to keep her testosterone levels low.
With immense support from her home country, Caster Semenya overcame all these difficulties and made her way back into the international spotlight. She won her first Olympic gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She replicated the feat at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio by clinching her second gold in the women’s 800m final.
The gender row was tough on Semenya and even though the IAAF has settled all the unresolved issues, it keeps cropping up and threatens to overshadow every other thing that the track star stands for. However, Caster Semenya has proven that it will take much more than that to keep her down.
Caster Semenya’s Biography
The international athlete was born Mokgadi Caster Semenya on January 7, 1991. Her parents Dorus and Jacob Semenya lived in Ga-Masehlong in Polokwane, Limpopo, South Africa. At a young age, she moved in with her grandmother Maputhi Sekgala who lived in the nearby village of Fairlie.
Semenya schooled at Nthema Secondary School and she was very active in sports. As a teenager, she was a member of the Moletjie Athletics Club. She showed an impressive form as an athlete and her coach at the time had to pair her with the male athletes, seeing that she was way ahead of her female colleagues.
Caster Semenya won gold in the 800m event of the 2008 World Junior Championships. She replicated the feat by winning gold in her event at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games, in Pune, India. At the 2009 African Junior Championships, she won the 800m race with the time of 1:56.72, simultaneously beating the Senior and Junior South African records at that time. She also won the 1500m race with the time of 4:08.01.
Following her brilliant junior career, Semenya proceeded to the University of Pretoria athletics club to launch her senior career. She sprinted her way into international limelight when she won the 2009 World Championships, in Berlin, which happened to be her very first senior competition. However, her resounding victory was nearly trumped by controversies over her true biological sex. It turned out that Semenya was made to undergo sex-verification testing even prior to the race.
Nevertheless, she received a hero’s welcome when she returned to her home country of South Africa as she was recognised by the country’s president as well as the famous Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela. Semenya retained her medal, however, she was barred from international competitions, pending the outcome of further investigations. While her test results were never made public, it was reported in the media that Semenya was hyperandrogenic. According to the reports, she possessed internal male sex organs in place of a uterus and ovaries, coupled with testosterone levels three times that of other women.
On July 6, 2010, she was cleared to return to international competitions. However, she was made to undergo medical treatment to suppress her testosterone levels below a given threshold. Semenya made the South African women’s Olympic team and eventually won the silver medal in the 800m race of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Her silver medal was upgraded to gold after Russia’s Mariya Savinova was stripped of her own gold for doping.
The IAAF policy on hyperandrogenism was suspended in July 2015 which meant that Semenya could compete without medications. This decision also provoked protests from her fellow competitors at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Amidst all the controversies, the track star remained undaunted as she went on to claim the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Also, in April 2016, Caster Semenya won all three of the 400m, 800m and 1500m titles at the South African National Championships, the first athlete to achieve the feat. She also put up a super performance at the 2017 World Championships where she won gold and bronze medals in women’s 800m and 1500m events respectively.
In March 2018, Caster Semenya graduated with a Diploma in Sports Science from the North West University. Indeed, she is a conqueror both on the field and off the field.
Is Caster Semenya Married? Wife
The international award-winning athlete is married to her long-term partner Violet Ledile Raseboya. Raseboya is a cross-country runner in South Africa. According to Semenya, they had met in a restroom way back in 2007.
They dated for a long while and with support from their parents, they got married traditionally in December 2015 in Ga-Dikgale in the Capricorn District of Limpopo. They eventually celebrated their white wedding in January 2017 with a lavish ceremony held at Chez Charlene Wedding Venue in Pretoria.
Caster Semenya Net Worth
Caster Semenya had humble beginnings growing up in a small village in South Africa. Without the appropriate training facilities, the young athlete resorted to running from her village to nearby villages along dirt roads. However, her fortune have since changed for the better since she burst into the international limelight.
For her first major win at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Semenya received $60,000 prize money. She has equally received similar and higher sums for her other laurels including 2 Olympic gold medals. We cannot also forget the endorsement deals which she has going on. In addition to being a world-renowned star athlete, Caster Semenya has accumulated an enviable amount of wealth for herself. However, the exact details of her finances are currently not in the public domain.
Height and Weight
Height: 5’ 10’’ or 178cm.
Weight: 154 lbs or 70kg.