MONTE CARLO, Monaco, February 28 – South Africa’s Olympic women’s 800m champion Caster Semenya missed out on the World Sportswoman of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards held in Monaco, on Tuesday.
American tennis legend Serena Williams took the top honour.
Semenya, 27, said it had always been a dream to be mentioned in such esteemed company.
“As an athlete, obviously we have goals, we have dreams, but this is one of the dreams that I dreamed, from young, watching sportsmen and sportswomen on top of the world, being nominated, and then say one day, if I can be there, I will be fulfilled,” said Semenya.
Semenya said it was very special to be selected among the best in the world.
“When you check the likes of Michael Johnson, for me, it’s a very special feeling. It’s someone that I looked up to since I’m watching what he has accomplished. It’s just amazing.”
Semenya was also up against Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza and an all-American quartet of Williams, 16-time world athletics championship medallist Allyson Felix, 19-year-old swimming sensation Katie Ledecky, and overall World Cup champion skier Mikaela Shiffrin.
An impressive collection of the greatest men, women and teams in sport had been nominated, following a ballot by the world’s sports media.
Looking back at her career, Semenya, was quick to pick out the highlights.
“I would say that Rio (Olympics in 2016) is one of my highlights, and obviously back then (at the World Championships in 2009) was the first time I made it to the scene. So those were the highlights of my life. But if you were a young girl, you know, I had to grow. I had to be mature.
“I had to find a way how to make decisions and how to make right ones and how to pick the wrong ones and take them out. I think winning in 2009 and winning in Rio are the best moments of my life, I can never forget.”
And talking about her goals for 2018 Semenya added: “I’ll start with nationals, middle of March, and then obviously we will have the Commonwealth Games where I will also try the double again, so I can be able to win two golds.
“That is the main goal. And then we still have African Champs and the World Cup.”