Caster Semenya blames poor leadership for dismal 2023

Caster Semenya blames poor leadership for dismal 2023

South Africa’s athletics legend Caster Semenya has expressed discontent with the current state of athletics in the country.

The two-time Olympic 800m gold medalist blames South Africa's poor result at the recent World Senior Championships on poor administration by by Athletics South Africa (ASA). Their failure to secure a medal in the last three World Championships has drawn criticism from Semenya, who believes the ASA board appears indifferent to the well-being of athletes. 

"I think it comes with how things are structured at the moment. It's about the leadership. If you have leaders who are going to motivate you, of course, you'll win. But if you have leaders that are going to be in the championship that are never there, but only for the last minutes, " said Semenya. 

"When it comes to management you need to select the right team. When we went to the African Champs in Mauritius we had no manager.  A doctor had to manage, it comes down to that. It starts with how we manage the team, and who we put in the team. You need experienced people, we don't want people who are going to go there and start asking for information." 

Semenya showcased exceptional prowess as she secured major titles in global athletics, representing her country with distinctions. However, she made it clear in an interview with the national broadcaster that she refuses to remain silent when the leadership falls short in supporting athletes during significant world championships. Known for her straightforwardness, Semenya minced no words as she openly criticised the current ASA board, sparing them no blushes.  

"For athletes to win medals, they need to be in a good space. So, if you're in a space that is ba [with] poor management, poor leadership, how will you perform under stress? Those are the things that we as teams did wrong. 

"Then they say I talk too much, but at the end of the day, I know how to win a medal. I know what it takes. If teams go to World Champs with people who are there for pictures, who are there for business suits, it becomes a problem." 

Prudence Sekgodiso hailed as the emerging talent reminiscent of Semenya, experienced failed to complete her 800m semi-final. Wayde Van Niekerk found himself at the bottom in the 400m final, and the 4x100m men’s relay team faced a mishap with a dropped baton during the final at the 4x100m men’s final at the World Champs.