Semenya to carry Team SA flag at 2012 Olympics
July 18th, 2012 | Published in Road Forward
Former world track champion Caster Semenya was on Wednesday unveiled as Team South Africa’s official flag bearer at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Semenya, 21, will lead the pride of South African sport at the opening ceremony in London on Friday, 27 July.
The announcement was made at Team SA’s glittering farewell banquet in Sandton.
The team leaves for London on Thursday.
Born in the tiny village of GaMasehlong in Limpopo Province, Semenya won the 800m title at the 2009 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany in 2009.
More recently, she powered her way to a silver medal at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
“Caster is an absolute role model for all sportsmen and women in South Africa,” said SASCOC President Gideon Sam on Wednesday. “She’s proved herself to be an absolute inspiration in the face of adversity and we are sure that this inspiration will rub off on each and every member of the Olympic squad.”
Semenya, who will run the 800m at the Olympic Games, joins a long list of proud SA flagbearers at the Olympics. In Beijing it was Natalie du Toit who did the duty at both the Olympics and Paralympics.
She was the first woman to carry the flag at both the Olympics and Paralympics.
The team’s final banquet before London was celebrated in style with numerous top class entertainment acts, including trapeze artists, opera singers and violinists.
Many of South Africa’s top sports stars, including golfer Ernie Els and soccer ace Lucas Radebe had inspirational messages of support for the team.
SASCOC President Gideon Sam took a captive audience through South Africa’s Olympic history since re-admission in 1992 and left them in no doubt that this team is well-prepared and ready for the next Olympic leap upwards in London.
“The wheels definitely came off in Beijing where Khotso [Mokoena's] silver was our only medal but we have learnt a lot and put in an awful amount of work since 2008 to make sure that won’t happen again.”