In school I always wanted to be known as ‘Caster Semenya the Second’, but I thought that would never happen. I was well-known for my long legs and some of the other kids looked up to me.
In Grade 9, one of my teachers called me to go to the sports field because we were going to participate in Athletics. When I arrived at the sports field my teacher, who was also my trainer, asked me, “Do you have running shoes? Or do you want to run barefoot? What do you have, or what do you think?”
I first stood there, looking in the opposite direction, making as if I did not hear her, but then I decided to answer her.
“Sorry ma’am,” I said, “I don’t have running shoes and I’m not sure if I will be able to run without shoes.”
She asked, “When do you think you will get them?”
I did not know what to say next, but then I told her, “I’m sure that whenever that is, I can assure you that it won’t be soon enough.”
She was disappointed when she said, “That’s okay.”
But then it was time to begin with the training. We trained and then later some other children came over and joined us.
Things were a bit different when it was the last day of practice. The trainers used a stopwatch in order to know how fast we are. They also had to select a team from the larger group of us, and I really wanted to be in it. Time passed and then it was my turn to run with my peers. All of us were quite fast. I made the team! I remember very well the moment when I came second.
My teacher said, “Well done, I knew that you would make the team!”
I was very flattered at that time. The other girls and boys were very happy because some of them also made it to the team.
Our teachers encouraged us and said, “You all did well, we are proud of you.” We were all excited because we were going to represent our school.
The teachers said, “Remember, you must not have any sugar today and make sure you eat pasta. Also stretch your legs a bit and have a good sleep because tomorrow is the day that we have all been looking forward to. Last but not least,” they said, “remember to bring your shoes tomorrow.”
All of us said goodbye to our teachers and we departed for home.
Tomorrow came and we gathered at the field. My teacher came running over to me and said, “I’ve got something for you,” and handed me a pair of running shoes.
I took them with great joy and put them on my feet. After that, we started running. I came in 3rd in the 400m girls race. All of us rejoiced for my victory.