Caster feels the love

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VIL­LIERS SPORT WRITER

CASTER SEMENYA re­ceived a thun­der­ing sur­prise wel­come at the Dis­cov­ery South Africa’s head­quar­ters in Sand­ton as she was of­fi­cially un­veiled as their lat­est Vi­tal­ity am­bas­sador.

The build­ing erupted as she walked into the cav­ernous atrium where she was wel­comed by the Soweto Gospel Choir.

Semenya joins fel­low Olympic gold medal­lists Chad le Clos and Wayde van Niek­erk as global Dis­cov­ery Vi­tal­ity am­bas­sadors.

The three-time world cham­pion was un­der the im­pres­sion she would be meet­ing with some of the Dis­cov­ery big­wigs, and in­stead she re­ceived a hero’s wel­come.

“To be hon­est, I didn’t ex­pect such a vibe, I walked into a busi­ness and all of a sud­den …wow, it is like I am on the track,” Semenya said.

“It was fan­tas­tic, I had a warm wel­come where I felt the love and I felt the sup­port.”

Semenya has taken a well-de­served break fol­low­ing a record-break­ing and chock-a-block sea­son which saw her beak four South African records.

Her ac­co­lades in 2018 in­clude win­ning the 800-1 500m dou­ble gold at the Com­mon­wealth Games, the 400-800m dou­ble at the African Cham­pi­onships, the 800m Di­a­mond Tro­phy and the Con­ti­nen­tal Cup ti­tle in her spe­cial­ist two-lap event.

With the ex­cep­tion of her global spon­sor­ship with Nike, sup­port from lo­cal com­pa­nies have been few and far be­tween.

“As an in­di­vid­ual, you need to be pa­tient and peo­ple ex­pect you to per­form,” Semenya said.

“If you are pa­tient enough things will come to you and you can’t chase things. It was worth wait­ing and of course, cor­po­rates want to as­so­ciate them­selves with peo­ple that are good ex­am­ples for the youth. I think I didn’t meet those re­quire­ments be­fore. When you build a brand peo­ple start look­ing at you.”

Semenya said she was de­lighted with the spon­sor­ships and be­lieves their as­so­ci­a­tion would be the per­fect fit.

“I am elated to be a part of such a dy­namic team, to rep­re­sent a brand that echoes my val­ues on and off the track on the quest for a health­ier life­style and in­spir­ing ac­tion in oth­ers.”

Dis­cov­ery’s chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer Firoze Bho­rat said it was a no-brainer to in­volve Semenya as one of their am­bas­sadors.

“Caster is the epit­ome of what an ath­lete should be, she is ex­cep­tion­ally in­tel­li­gent, she is ex­cep­tion­ally fit, she is at the top of her game and she is a world cham­pion,” Bho­rat said.

“What more could any brand ask for? Dis­cov­ery sup­ports cham­pi­ons through our sup­port of Van Niek­erk and Chad Le Clos. So it just made sense that we part­ner with an in­di­vid­ual like Caster.”

Semenya re­it­er­ated she had her sights set on ex­tend­ing her ca­reer deep into her 30s where she might even close out her Olympic ca­reer in the marathon although the 1 500m was her favourite event.

“My plan is to re­tire when I am 40. That means I would move from mid­dle dis­tance to dis­tance events,” Semenya said.

The North­ern Cape team (from left) Wi­han Smit, Dri­aan van Niek­erk, Charles Peter Mathew­son, Scott El­liot andFanie Smit (front, man­ager), who won the BowlsSouth Africa Un­der30 In­ter Dis­trict Cham­pi­onship re­cently held in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg. This is the first gold medal that North­ern Cape Bowls has ever won.

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