More bittersweet glory for Caster

Caster Semenya. Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)

Caster Semenya. Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)

She’s now officially 2011’s world champion in the 800m, but ironically she won’t be able to collect her gold at this year’s edition due to her own banishment.

It’s been a bittersweet few month for Caster Semenya, a situation reinforced on Thursday after it was announced that she’ll officially be crowned 2011’s 800m world champion.

South Africa’s queen of the track had finished second during the showpiece in Daegu, South Korea after failing to catch up to Russia’s Mariya Savinova.

Savinova, however, was subsequently handed a four-year ban for doping violations – part of a broader scandal of a  state-sponsored campaign of performance enhancement.

“The IAAF will be honouring the affected athletes at the upcoming World Championships in Doha, Qatar,” Athletics SA said in a statement.

The local governing body though will act as proxy for Semenya, who won’t be present at the week-long meet due to her own banishment from competitive action following the controversial Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling on hormone therapy for female athletes.

“And for Semenya, the IAAF will hand her medal to ASA in Doha. ASA will in turn decide on the appropriate time, venue and date for an official handover to the athlete,” the statement continued.

Javelin star Sunette Viljoen will also profit with an upgrade to a silver medal due to Maria Abakumova’s disqualification.

“Excellent news indeed for the two athletes who had been placed wrongly because of those who cheated the system at the time, but after eight years we are happy that justice has been done. Congratulations to our athletes for their achievements and for being honoured as clean athletes,” said ASA president, Aleck Skhosana.

“Their achievements are a great example to other athletes who not only look up to them, but who also aspire to reach the top of the world’s performances as clean athletes.”

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