South Africans are rallying behind Caster Semenya, hoping she will win the women’s 800 metres final at the London Olympics.
A win by Semenya will help South Africa finish as the top nation in Africa at the Games. Semenya was impressive in the heats but more so in the semi-finals as she qualified the fastest for the final. Although she is tipped to clinch gold, it won’t be plain sailing for Semenya, as she will be up against Olympic defending champion Pamela Jelimo of Kenya. Everyone in South Africa has been waiting for Semenya to shine again. The manner in which she has performed so far at the games is in stark contrast to her pre-Olympics meetings. Semenya seemed to struggle with her form in the build-up to the Games, and battled to run below the two minute mark. At the 2009 World Championships in Germany, Berlin her win turned into a nightmare as she had to undergo a series of drug and gender tests. But it appears she has saved her best for the global show piece. “It’s been a very hard year for me you know I have not been racing so good but its very important for me to get back to the normal standards. I am very happy, for the South Africans I would like to thank them for the support they have given me so I have to give it back to them,” says Semenya.
Well wishes Meanwhile, well wishes continued to pour in for the athlete. Banyana Banyana vice captain and Semenya’s long time friend, Noko Matlou, has wished her friend well for tonight’s race. Secretary of the Moletjie Athletics Club in Limpopo, Kaizer Mokaba, says the club, which discovered and developed Semenya, is confident that the international athlete will bring a Gold medal home. Mokaba says the club discovered Caster about six year ago at a village in Limpopo. Limpopo acting Premier David Masondo and Mayor of the Aganang Local Municipality in the province, Maria Mokobodi, have also both wished Semenya well ahead of her competition tonight. Semenya was born at Masehlong and raised by her grandmother at Fairlien village in the municipality. Mokobodi says even though the municipality has failed to put up a big screen in the village due to budgetary constrains, everybody in the area is behind Semenya.