Talented Semenya scoops more awards

AS EXPECTED, South Africa's most popular athlete, Caster Semenya, walked away with three major awards at the Athletics Gauteng North ceremony in Pretoria on Saturday.

AS EXPECTED, South Africa's most popular athlete, Caster Semenya, walked away with three major awards at the Athletics Gauteng North ceremony in Pretoria on Saturday.

The world's 800m queen scooped the World Junior Athlete of the year, AGN Female Elite Athlete of the Year and Track and Field awards.

The three awards were deservedly awarded to the 19-year-old University of Pretoria sports administration student, who was in terrific form last year.

Semenya capped her 2009 performance by becoming the first black South African woman to win a gold medal at an IAAF world competition.

This was after winning the 800m final in Germany last August during the IAAF World Championships, where questions around her gender were first raised.

Semenya declined to comment after the event, saying: "I have been instructed by my lawyers not to speak to the media on any matter".

The Limpopo-born athlete has made it clear through her coach, Michael "Sponge" Seme, that she is eyeing three gold medals in global competitions this year.

The three international events for Semenya are the African Senior Championships in Kenya, World Junior Championships in Canada and Commonwealth Games in India.

Currently, Semenya has been barred by Sascoc from competing in athletics until her gender verification test investigations by IAAF have been completed.

But Seme insists that Semenya will soon be seen in action, saying they have discussed the issue with Minister of Sport and Recreation Makhenkesi Stofile.

The tests were initially expected to be made public last November by the IAAF, who have since announced they will only deal directly with Semenya.

Semenya's lawyers are also in the process of wrapping up lawsuits against various individuals, media houses and organisations for the humiliation suffered by the athlete.

Back to the awards, Khotso Mokoena, the only South African athlete to win a medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, won the Male Elite Athlete of the Year and Track and Field awards.

Mokoena, who won a silver medal in Beijing in the long jump, is preparing for the World Indoor Games in Qatar next month where he is expected to defend the title he won in 2008.

"It's great to be recognised," said Mokoena.

In-form Stephen Mokoka (male) and Annerien van Schalkwyk (female) won the Athlete of the Year awards in cross country.

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