One of the things I was keeping my eye on besides the US contingent at the just concluded IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea is how South Africa's Caster Semenya is progressing.
While the attention was focused on Jamaica's Usain Bolt, the Jamaican 4x100 team's new 37.02 world record in the relay, and the Kenyan dominance in the distance events, Semenya was quietly running the 800m qualifying heats and advancing towards her goal of defending her IAAF 800m world title she won in Berlin back in 2009.
She was also following the advice of former South African president Nelson Mandela as well "I was doing this for him," Semenya said. "He is a very good man and gave me good
"He said 'Just toughen up and face the world.' I have to
go visit him again now. When I get back home, I will go straight to
The now 20 year old Semenya faced the world in the 800m final. She sat back in the pack until she made her move and took the lead with 200m to go. Unfortunately after she made the turn into the home stretch she was passed by Mariya Savinova of Russia who won the gold in 1:55:87. Semenya took the silver in 1:56.35 and 2007 world champion Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya finished third with a time of 1:57.42.
It's the closest she's come to running the 1:55.45 time that she achieved in running that IAAF world championship race two years ago, but she's back in the neighborhood.
"I achieved what I wanted, which was to get back to the podium," Semenya
said in a post race interview. "For now, I now have to work as a professional athlete, stay
strong and be positive. It wasn't easy for me, but I had support from
family, friends and my coach."
You also have the support and prayers of a lot of folks around the world as well. See you in London next year.