Silver is for Madiba - Semenya
Daegu - After being dramatically dethroned
from her 800m World title, Caster Semenya has dedicated her silver medal to
former president, Nelson Mandela for everything that he has done for South
Africa, writes Wilhelm de Swart
in Monday's edition of Die Burger
“This silver medal means more to me than
the gold medal I won in the World Championships in Berlin," Semenya said.
“I was young and reckless in 2009.
Everything happened so quickly and easily. I did not realise what a great
honour it was to win a medal at a World Championship.
“This time it was different. I really had
to work hard for my silver medal. That is why I appreciate it that much more
and why I am dedicating it to Mandela,” said Semenya.
By contrast, Semenya was quite
philosophical over her silver medal triumph.
“Sometimes it is good to lose, because it
makes you appreciate your next victory so much more.”
The eventual champion, Russia’s Mariya
Savinova only overtook Semenya in the final 10 metres and her winning time of
1:55.87 is the fastest recorded time this season.
Semenya’s 1:56.35 is also her quickest of
the season as well as the second fastest race of her career.
Kenya’s Janeth Jepkosgei finished in third
with a time of 1:57.42.
Semenya seemed very relaxed at the press
conference and when journalists tried to lure her into the gender debacle which
tainted her success in 2009, she calmly indicated that she would not be
answering any questions of that nature.
“I am still young and I will not always be
living in the past. What happened, happened. All that matters to me now is to
try and win a medal for South Africa in next year’s Olympic Games in London.
“Who knows, maybe I can even beat the world
record in the 800m. I must just train hard and remain focussed,” she added.
When asked if she was afraid of the media,
she said that: “No, not at all. The only reason that I do not want to talk to
the media is because I was focussed on my goals.
“Once I have reached them, then I don’t
have any problem to speak (to the media).”
One of the talking points around Semenya’s
finals display was how she got it right to drastically improve her speed after
struggling for much of the season preceding the championships.
“I just have that ‘Caster magic touch’. If
I decide that something has to happen, then it will happen,” boasted Semenya.
On a more serious note however, she added
that she started to train much harder.
Semenya says that she has no plans to run
in both the 800m and 1500m in next year’s Olympics.
“I will only focus on the 800m. It will be
dumb to try and qualify for both events, because the competition is just too
“You have to specialise if you want to have
any chance of winning a medal.”