JOHANNESBURG – Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, on Wednesday congratulated 2009 World Champion Caster Semenya for winning her 800m heat in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“On behalf of Government and all the people of South Africa, we call on Semenya to remain strong knowing that South African and many other countries are behind her. We will always be proud of her,” Shabangu said.

Shabangu said that Semenya winning ‘in the face of great adversity’ was a clear demonstration of her resilience and strength of character.

Shabangu encouraged all those who are still going to participate in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games to do their best for South Africa.

Semenya opened her bid for Olympic gold with a comfortable victory in a time of 1 minutes 59.31 seconds in the women’s 800m heats at the Rio Olympic Stadium.

Semenya, 25, has four of the five fastest times in the world this year and in the heat was content to sit well back on the first lap.

The 2012 Olympic silver medalist’s time is some four seconds off her Personal Best time of 1.55.33 she ran last month.

Semenya will race again in the semi-finals on Friday, and will be the favourite for gold in the final on Sunday.

– African News Agency

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