OPINION: Do not be ashamed to take a bow: What is Caster Semenya now?

It’s been 13 years since Caster Semenya rose to fame and notoriety by winning the 800m world title in Berlin, and after losing in the first round of the world championship on Thursday, she now has a chance to step out of the ring. knowing she got it back just as hard as she got it.

Semenya has been dropped from the game several times throughout her career and, under current rules, she cannot compete in the 400m to the mile (1609m) without taking hormone suppressants.

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So despite winning three world titles and two Olympic gold medals in the 800m, her mere competition this week world championship might well be remembered as her greatest victory.

For an athlete who holds South African records in the 400m, 800m and 1500m, qualifying for the 5000m at the World Championships has been a monumental effort.

Ironically, however, her result in the first round of the women’s 5000m also suggests that her career is coming to an end after running 12 and a half laps to finish in 13th position in her heat.

What’s next?

Now that she’s been there, done that, Semenya, 31, will have to consider what else she can do to play her part in a battle that’s bigger than herself.

She fought many legal battles against World Athletics but lost them all, and while that doesn’t mean nothing will change, one person can do a lot. If gender rules are lifted, a new generation may have to pick up the baton she left behind.

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But as her role as an athlete fades, we can take comfort in the possibility that Semenya will remain a coach (she already has a large training group) and a potential administrator in the future.

A fighter who never gives up, with a firm head on his shoulders, athletics may not have been as good as Semenya should have been, but she was good for the sport.

And with the value she continues to offer, let’s hope she feels more welcome in the suites and in the stands than she’s ever felt on the track.