Sportswear brand Nike has featured olympic champion Caster Semenya in a new commercial.
The 27-year-old South African has long fought off critics who question her gender with impressive accomplishments on the running track.
She says in the inspirational ad: ‘Will it be easier for you if I wasn’t so fast? Will it be simpler if I stop winning? Would you be more comfortable if I was less proud?’
‘Would you prefer if I hadn’t worked so hard? Or just didn’t love it? Or stopped at my first steps? That’s too bad, because I was born to do this…’
‘Just Do It’
The commercial is part of Nike’s 30th anniversary celebrations of the slogan ‘Just Do It’.
The promotion has hit global headlines by featuring the USA’s NFL star Colin Kaepernick as face of the campaign.
The football star has been denounced by US nationalists for refusing to stand for the US anthem in protest at police brutality and racism.
Semenya, meanwhile, has had an impressive season. She won gold in 800m and silver in the 400m at the IAAF Continental Cup.
The athlete also has two Olympic medals under her belt. She won silver at London 2012 and gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, both for the women’s 800 meters.
Semenya made international headlines in 2009 when she was was subjected to so-called sex verification testing after questions were raised about her gender.
The results were never published, apart from a few leaked passages which suggest she might intersex. She has continued to compete in women’s events.
The tests drew heavy criticism, especially in South Africa. Critics called the tests racists and said it violated her right to privacy.
The runner and her long-term partner Violet Raseboya got married early last year. They tied the knot in a lavish ceremony just outside Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital.