Behind a rugby field at the University of Pretoria, there is a small hill. It is not much of a hill. It’s more of a big mound of earth. This is “Caster’s Hill”, where a teenage Caster Semenya built the physical endurance that would make her an 800m superstar. Michael “Sponge” Seme, a coach at the University of Pretoria, saw talent in Semenya more than a decade ago. She was strong from playing football, but she would tail away in the final lap of the 800m, fading badly behind the field in the last 400m. Seme knew if Semenya could maintain that strength through to the end, she would be a special athlete. At 4am and 5pm every day, Semenya would run up and down that hill behind the rugby field for 30 minutes at a time. Hard, relentless hill repeats that would toughen her up for when the 800m got tough. “Sponge told me that power was not enough to win,” said Semenya. “He told me that I had to be stronger at the end of the race. He trained me to do that. He trained me to win from the out...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.