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Caster Semenya. (Photo: Archives)

Caster Semenya in line for top award

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South African middle-distance runner and 2016 Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya is one of the candidates for their Athlete of the Month of August Award. This was announced by the United States Sports Academy on Friday.
The Moletjie born athlete won gold in the women’s 800 m during the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London in August. Her time of 1:55.16 was a personal best and a world leading time for 2017. Semenya also won a bronze medal in the women’s 1 500 m in a time of 4:02.76. At the same meeting she improved the world record for the rarely run 600 m for women in a time of 1:21.77.
According to a statement released by the academy the public is invited to participate in the Academy’s worldwide Athlete of the Month programme by nominating athletes and then voting online during the first week of every month. “The online votes are used to guide the academy selection committee in choosing the male and female monthly winners, who then become eligible for selection to the prestigious Athlete of the Year ballot. A worldwide public vote on the annual ballot is used to guide the committee in making the final selection.”
“Everyone is encouraged to cast a vote on the academy’s website at www.ussa.edu. The full ballot is listed along with bios of what each athlete accomplished during the month. Voting will continue until 17:00 Central time today (Thursday),” the statement read. Voting is currently in progress.
Semenya is up against USA baseball outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, golfer Justin Thomas, softball player Kelly Barnhill and steeplechaser Emma Coburn as well as Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim, British distance runner Mo Farah, French midfielder Paul Pogba, German tennis player Alexander Zverev, South Korean golfer In-Kyung Kim, Spanish-Venezuelan tennis sensation Garbiñe Muguruza and Swedish swimmer Sarah Sjöström.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission university created to serve the nation and world with programmes in instruction, research and service in sport. The role of the academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Onicca Moloi said Semenya’s nomination is an encouragement for all athletes in the province.
“She has been doing well over the years. She has also shown that with commitment and dedication one can achieve a lot. We are behind her, we will vote for her and we wish her all the best,” Moloi told Polokwane Observer on Monday ahead of the launch of the department’s annual provincial Sport and Recreation Awards last night (Wednesday).

Story: Herbert Rachuene
>>herbert.observer@gmail.com