March is women's month. To mark this month, ASVG joins Africa and the rest of the world in celebrating phenomenal women whose footprints left a permanent mark in their chosen sport discipline.
Today, we travel down south to South Africa, a country that has given the world a one in a million unique being Mokgadi Caster Semenya.
Like no athlete before her, the hugely gifted Semenya continues to polarise opinion and is a true embodiment of the theme, #choosetochallenge.
Born January 7th 1991, Semenya has been identified as an intersex cisgender women, assigned female at birth with XY chromosomes and naturally elevated testosterone levels due to 5a- Reductase deficiency.
Due to this, her ability is often overlooked and she has and continues to suffer scrutiny.
Following her victory at the 2009 World Championships, it was announced that she had been subjected to sex testing. She was then withdrawn from international competitions until 6 July 2010 when the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) cleared her to compete again.
Once again, her dominance of the women's middle distance events would prove 'a pill too hard to swallow' for competitors.
In 2019, the IAAF came with new rules which stated that women such as Semenya should be prevented from participating in the 400m, 800m and 1500m events. Noting that unless they take medication to lower thier testosterone levels. The rule effectively barred Semenya from ever competing in the International athletics.
True to her nature to challenge stereotypes, Semenya fought back. On 25 February 2021, her lawyer announced that she would appeal the IAAF ruling to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Some of her memorable events in sport was in 2009, when she won gold medal in the women's 800 metres at the World Championshis registering a time of 1:55.45. in 2011 she was awarded gold medals at the World Championships and the 2012 Summer Olympics all in the 800 metres.
She went on to obtain a gold medal again in the 2016 Olympics. In 2017, she registed her personal best with a time of 1:55.16.
In 2019, Times magazine named Semenya as one of the 100 most influential people of the year.
Thank you Caster for your bravery