Semenya ready to battle 'haters'

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Caster Semenya (Getty Images)
Caster Semenya (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Despite attracting all kinds of speculation as to her validity as a female contestant at yet another international sporting meeting, Caster Semenya is ready to compete in the women's 800m semi-final at the Rio Olympics.

Given her extraordinary high testosterone levels, Semenya has long been at the centre of a debate around the line between a natural gift and an unfair advantage.

However, after cruising, in the truest sense of the word, to victory in her 800m heat on Wednesday, Semenya is set to contest the semi-final on Friday morning 02:31 (SA time) and insists that winning a medal is all she is focused on in Brazil.

Given her position in world sport, Semenya engages very little with press and media.

After her heat on Wednesday though, she said the following: "I am focused on enjoying my championship and it’s going to be a tough 800.

"Medals matter. I just want to run my own race and so far it’s been very good."

Semenya's Twitter account is littered with references to her critics and the 2012 Olympic silver medallist appears to be using them as motivation in Rio.

One such post reads: "Dear Haters, I have so much more for you to be mad at. Just be patient."

There have been suspicions that Semenya held back in London to avoid the scrutiny that a gold medal might have brought. This time round she seems totally committed to doing her best.

If the ease in which she cantered to a time of 1:59.31 in her qualifying heat is anything to go by, then South Africans could be in for a treat in the coming days.

Semenya will feature in the third semi-final. Her biggest threats will be Belarus' Maryna Arzamasava and Benin's Noélie Yarigo who clocked speedy times of 1:58.44 and 1:59.12 in the heats respectively.

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