Caster feels the love
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.