SEMENYA Caster < Back  
Sport Athletics
CGA South Africa   
Gender Women
Born 07 Jan 1991 in Pietersburg, SAF
Height1.78 m
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Family Wife Violet, one daughter [2020]
Occupation Athlete
Languages English
Higher education Sports Science - North-West University: Potchefstroom, RSA
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? She took up running at age six.
Why this sport? She also tried football, karate and boxing when she was younger, but enjoyed athletics the most. "Running is everything to me. When I am running, I am happy."
Name of coach Koketso Mogapi [personal], RSA
General Interest
Nicknames Cobra (bbc.co.uk, 01 May 2019)
Hero / Idol Mozambican middle-distance runner Maria Mutola. (guardian.co.uk, 24 Oct 2011)
Injuries After the 2012 Olympic Games in London she was kept out for almost a year due to a knee injury. She underwent rehabilitation to correct an imbalance in her leg strength due to the effects of an operation she had as a child. She returned to competition in July 2013. (sport24.co.za, 27 Jul 2013)

A lower back injury caused her to miss the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. (dailymail.co.uk, 28 Sep 2010)
Sporting philosophy / motto "It is not about what people think of you, it is about proving them wrong." (bbc.co.uk, 20 May 2015)
Awards and honours In 2019 she was included in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of the Year. (time.com, 31 Dec 2019)

She was named Sportswoman of the Year at the South African Sports Awards in 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2018. She also won the People's Choice Sports Star of the Year and the Sports Star of the Year awards at the same event in 2018. (swimswam.com, 19 Nov 2018; southafrica.info, 05 Nov 2012)

In 2014 she received the Bronze Order of Ikhamanga [OIB] in South Africa. (enca.com, 27 Apr 2014)

She was South Africa's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (thestar.com, 26 Dec 2012)

In 2009 she was named Sportswoman of the Year by the University of Pretoria in South Africa. (up.ac.za, 01 Nov 2009)
Famous relatives Her wife Violet Raseboya has competed in distance running at national level in South Africa. (bbc.co.uk, 11 Sep 2020; worldathletics.org, 05 May 2012)
Ambitions To compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (bbc.co.uk, 14 Mar 2020)
Other information IMPACT OF RULE CHANGE
She was affected by regulations introduced by the International Association of Athletics Federations [IAAF] from 01 November 2018 that require female athletes with differences of sexual development [DSD] to take testosterone-reducing drugs in order to compete in events from 400m to one mile. She brought an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] against the IAAF over the rule change, but the appeal was rejected by CAS in April 2019. The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland temporarily suspended the ruling, but confirmed it in September 2020. As a result she will be unable to defend the 800m gold medals she won at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games at the 2020 Games in Tokyo. She originally said she would switch her focus to the 200m in order to compete in Tokyo, but in April 2021 she said she did not intend to attempt to qualify for the Games in the 200m after winning the South African 5000m national title. "I'm getting old‚ I'm scared to tear my muscles. We had to sit down and make sure that the decision that we make makes sense. Distance makes sense. We're happy with what we're doing‚ we're having fun. At training each and every day, we don't stress." (bbc.co.uk, 15 Apr 2021, 08 Sep 2020, 13 Mar 2020, 01 May 2019; worldathletics.org, 26 Apr 2018; theguardian.com, 01 May 2019; tas-cas.org, 30 Apr 2019)

BEGINNINGS OF GENDER ISSUES
She was first impacted by the subject of gender testing after winning a gold medal in the 800m at the 2009 Junior African Championships in Bambous, Mauritius. After this, the IAAF asked Athletics South Africa to carry out a gender test on her, and news of the test broke just before she won gold in the 800m final at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany. Following this event, she was unable to compete for the next 11 months until she was cleared to return by the IAAF in July 2010. "If it wasn't for my family I don't think I could have survived. I was world champion [in 2009] but I was never able to celebrate it. It was a joke for me. When I grew up, I grew up like that. I grew up with boys, I grew up around boys, I cannot change it." (bbc.co.uk, 20 May 2015, 06 Jul 2010, 19 Aug 2009; telegraph.co.uk, 06 Jul 2010)

OTHER STUDIES
In addition to completing a diploma in sports science at North-West University, she has also studied at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. (timeslive.co.za, 03 Jun 2011)