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Biography of Caster SEMENYA

South Africa > Sport : Caster SEMENYA

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Born on 07/01/1991 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Mokgadi Caster Semenya born January 7, 1991 in Polokwane - South Africa

 She is a world champion runner of the 800m; at the 12th IAAF World Athletic Championships in Berlin on 19 August she won the 800m race in a best personal time of 1.55.45 seconds. 

However controversy surrounds her due to her somewhat masculine appearance. This has surrounded her for quite some time, apparently whilst in Cape Town, South Africa, recently, she went to go to the female toilets at a petrol station and was turned away by the station attendant because he said she was a man. Her Mother Dorcus has ascertained that all this is a stupid waste of time.
Her best personal performances have been 1minute 55.45 seconds for the 800m ( a brilliant progression from her 2008 best of 2 minute 04.23 seconds. and the 1500m where she did her best time at Bambous in February 2008 of 4minutes 8.01 seconds.
Caster comes from the province of Limpopo in Northern South Africa and was brought up in the village Fairlie , 40 miles from the nerest town. She has four sisters and a brother.

She has grappled with the consequences of her boyish looks all of her life. Her School Principal, Eric Modiba said she wore trousers instead of a skirt and it wasn't until eleventh grade that he realised she was a girl. Her Grandmother Maputhi Sekgala said she kept her feelings on the teasing she had to put up with.
She trains at the University of Pretoria, where Oscar Pistorius also trains (famous South African Amputee runner). Hennie Kriel, the athletics club manager, said she had joined the club in January 2009. He said that the issue of gender had been discussed and he was satisfied that she was a women.

She came to International notice at the African Junior Championships in Mauritius in July 2009. 
The treatment she has received from the International press has stirred up a lot of South African defence and both Both South Africa's ruling ANC party and the Young Communist League of South Africa have backed the runner.

"It feeds into the commercial stereotypes of how a woman should look, their facial and physical appearance, as
perpetuated by backward Eurocentric definition of beauty.

"It is this culture which has forced many African women to starve themselves with the objective of reaching the model ramps of Paris and Milan to become the face of this or that product or magazine," the league said.

Athletics South Africa President Leonard Chuene, speaking by phone from Berlin, said Semenya was an inspiration to rural girls, some of the most powerless and disadvantaged people in the country, yet she was being raked over the coals with questions on her gender.

"I'm angry. I'm fuming. This girl has been castigated from day one, based on what?" Chuene said. "There's no scientific evidence. You can't say somebody's child is not a girl. You denounce my child as a boy when she's a girl? If you did that to my child, I'd shoot you."

Finally in July 2010 Caster Semenya has been given the all-clear to return to competition by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
The 19-year-old world 800m champion has been out of the sport for 11 months after undergoing gender tests.
"The IAAF accepts the conclusion of a panel of medical experts that she can compete with immediate effect," said a statement from the athletics body.


Last update : 07/08/2010

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