Team SA wraps up successful Olympics campaign

Team South Africa met its medal target it set for itself for the Rio 2016 Olympics Games.

Gold medallist Caster Semenya poses on the podium for the Women's 800m Final during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  Picture: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO - Team South Africa returned their most successful Rio 2016 Olympic Games campaign since 1920 as they finished with 10 medals in Rio de Janeiro.

That saw them reach their target although it went to the penultimate day of competition and rested on the shoulders of Caster Semenya, who clinched gold in the 800 metres.

It's been a particularly difficult campaign for the 25-year-old due to the additional spotlight cast by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) prior to her competing, as it was confirmed that it will challenge a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling to set aside testosterone regulation in athletes that produce it at abnormal levels.

Semenya's demeanour said it all in Rio - chin thrust forward, chest out as she carried herself both on the track and off it with similar grace.

In Sunday morning's final, she simply blew her opposition away, running a personal best of 1:55.28 which was also a South African record.

But in front of the media she performed equally as well, refraining from a verbal exchange, taking the high road that perhaps some of the more senior members of the sport would do well to heed.

"I don't think there a problem, you just have to be a great leader. You just need to lead by example."

There's no doubt that Semenya is now entering her prime as an athlete and that she has her eyes set firmly on the world record of 1:53.28.

Similarly the IAAF's position of drawing definitive lines over the intersex athletes seems to be hardening and arguably the sport's toughest issue is set to come to a head in the near future once again.

For now though the raising of the South African flag in the Olympic Stadium as "Nkosi sikele i'Afrika" rang around it was hailed by one and all, as athletics fans and a nation simply celebrated an exceptional athlete.

Gallery: Caster Semenya's golden moments in Rio.