Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
17 Jan 2018
4:57 pm

Why Caster deserves her (belated) Laureus nomination

Wesley Botton

South Africa's sprinting queen had a brilliant 2017 and handled all the associated pressures with dignity.

Peerless: Caster Semenya. Photo: Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images.

Middle-distance specialist Caster Semenya is in line for one of the most prestigious accolades in global sport, after being announced among the nominees for the Sportswoman of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

We look back on her 2017 season, in the build-up to the awards gala to be held in Monaco on February 27.


Semenya’s superb campaign was capped by a double podium effort at the IAAF World Championships in London. Though she lived up to the hype with a convincing victory in the 800m final, she was not given much of a chance in a rare appearance over the 1 500m distance. She stunned her fancied opponents, however, to earn the bronze medal.


While her national 800m record is unlikely to be given much consideration for an international award, despite Semenya climbing to eight place in the all-time world 800m rankings with her 1:55.16 victory at the global championships, her spectacular world 600m best of 1:21.77 (set in Berlin) was one of the most impressive track and field performances on the international circuit last year.


Becoming accustomed to stepping on stage, Semenya was named Sportswoman of the Year and received the People’s Choice trophy at the 2017 SA Sports Awards. She was also listed among the nominees for Female Athlete of the Year at the IAAF Awards, though she was surprisingly omitted from the list of finalists, and she will hope to make up for that disappointment by getting the nod from the Laureus voting panel.


Semenya is one of six women nominated in various codes for World Sportswoman of the Year. She is up against Spanish tennis player Garbine Muguruza and four American athletes, including tennis star Serena Williams, sprinter Allyson Felix, swimmer Katie Ledecky and slalom skier Mikaela Shiffrin.