.Semenya (right) and bride at the wedding. –
South Africa Olympic gold medalist, Caster Semenya has married her long time partner in an elaborate ‘white wedding’ ceremony on Sunday, which coincided with her birthday.
According to Dailymail, the 800m Olympic gold medalist wore a ‘Prince Charming-style’ outfit of embroidered jacket, gold breeches and velvet slippers for the ceremony which saw her wed Violet Raseboya, who wore a full-length white lace and appliqué dress.
The overjoyed athlete took to Instagram to share photos of the ceremony. The event which took place in the capital, Pretoria was attended by the couple’s friends, relatives, scores of local celebrities and athletes, followed a traditional ceremony a little over a year ago when Caster, who turned 26 yesterday, reportedly paid a dowry of £1,500 to her bride’s family.
Caster’s victory at the Olympics in Rio last summer was the most bitterly contested event of the games – and she credited Violet, 30, and her home fans with providing the strength and confidence to confront her critics, or ‘haters’ as she called them.
The runner, who has naturally elevated levels of testosterone and was forced to undergo humiliating gender testing to prove she was female, was once forced to take medicine to suppress her testosterone amid claims she had an unfair advantage.
The rules have since been challenged which means she can now compete without the medication, which provoked protest from her fellow competitors in Rio. She was born with no womb or ovaries and instead, due to a chromosomal abnormality, internal testes.
Unlike many high profile weddings, guests were left free to capture their own film and images of the day, which were widely shared across social media, prompting positive comments and feedback.
Posted images included the women posing in family groups, with bridesmaids and attendants, and even Violet having her make-up done for the ceremony. She wore her dark hair in an ‘up-do’ and finished with a diamante band.
Guests were given ‘thank you’ gifts of bottles of wine, with special labels featuring the lovers, from the upmarket Uitkyk wine estate near Cape Town.
In one particularly intimate snapshot, the women are seeing clasping each others hands solemnly – apparently at the very moment when they were formally united in marriage.
She spent 11 months on the athletics sidelines while she had tests but was cleared to compete in 2010.
By this time the International Association of Athletics Federations had set a testosterone threshold. It meant Caster could run again if she took medicine to suppress her testosterone levels.
The ruling was then challenged by Indian runner Dutee Chand, who also has hyperandrogenism. In 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport suspended the rules for two years, meaning Caster could come off the medication.
Critics agree the way she has been treated has shamed the sport, and harks back to 1966 when female competitors at the European Athletics Championship were subjected to a ‘nude parade’ past three gynaecologists.