Olympics: Caster Semenya to carry flag
Caster Semenya will carry South Africa’s flag at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics it was confirmed last night.
The 21-year-old was given the honour three years after she was embroiled in a gender-test controversy that threatened her career. South African Olympic committee chief executive Tubby Reddy said his body also considered double-amputee runner Oscar Pistorius, swimmer Cameron van der Burgh and long jumper Khotso Mokoena for the role.
Semenya is looking forward to running in the London Olympics with the controversy that dogged her 2009 World Championships win behind her. She was left in limbo and has been unable to kick on from her time of one minute 55.45 seconds in that final, but is now back at the forefront of the event and looking ahead to the Games. “That is in the past,” she said. “You need to concentrate on the future. I don’t have to entertain those things now. I can concentrate on my running, that’s all. This is my first Olympics so London will be special for me.”
Nelson Mandela has been a major influence on Semenya’s career and her fight for equal treatment and she paid tribute to the former South Africa president, who turned 94 yesterday.
“The first time I met Mandela he was just looking at me as a little tiny girl,” she said. “He said: ‘I believe in you, so you go out there and make me proud’. So I kept the spirit and the legacy.
“Everything I do, I do it for him.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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