'My haters really pushed me to do better'

30 September 2016 - 18:16
By Mpho Sibanyoni

Olympics gold medallist Caster Semenya last night opened up, saying her detractors encouraged her to do better while at the same time they deeply saddened her.

Semenya was speaking at former Miss SA Joan Madibeng's sixth annual Women: The Real Architects of Society event in Sandton, Johannesburg.

The event was hosted mainly to award the 800m champion for her athletic excellence after she won a gold medal at the Rio Olympics in Brazil last month.

"To my haters . they really encouraged me with their criticism. They really pushed me harder so I could do better, even if I wanted to quit I wanted to do better to obviously prove them wrong," Semenya said.

"They push me hard even though they get angry because I am always happy even though deep down I know that I am sad," said Semenya.

The Limpopo-born athlete said the support she has been receiving from members of the public uplifted her, it made her to feel loved and showed her that there is hope.

"Thanks a lot, I really appreciate the recognition . I will do well in future as I still have 10 more years of my career that I will dedicate to my South African people.

"When I was in Rio, the support that you gave me really lifted me up and made me to want to do more," she said.

Semenya also paid homage to her wife Violet, saying she encouraged her to go back to school.

The event was a follow-through of an awards ceremony Madibeng held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the women's march by honouring the achievements and great work done by women.

Semenya did not attend last month's event as she was performing at the Olympics in Brazil.

Madibeng congratulated Semenya on her achievement and encouraged her to do better in future.

Madibeng added she was worried about the phenomenon of "blessers and sugar daddies" and that there was a need for women to visit schools to mentor female pupils and learners.