Cape Town - Olympic champion Caster Semenya has revealed that NBA superstar Lebron James is "close to her heart".
Semenya flew to New York to receive the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award from the Women's Sports Foundation and tennis icon Billie Jean King on Wednesday night.
In September, James watched the world and Olympic 800m champion at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Berlin, where Semenya won the 1 000m title in 2:30.70 and broke her own national record.
"He (James) is very close to my heart. He's someone who inspires me a lot," Semenya said in an interview with SNTV on Tuesday.
"I would never thought he would take his time and come watch me run. So, it was a great moment.
"He told me to keep on working hard, I'm a special kid. That's what he said to me so it's just fantastic. I was deeply touched," said the 27-year-old.
On Tuesday, the IAAF announced it had agreed to postpone by five months the implementation of controversial new rules on high testosterone levels in female athletes.
Semenya and Athletics South Africa (ASA) are challenging the proposal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Semenya's hearing was pushed back to February, with the possible start of the IAAF's rule on March 26.