Caster Semenya. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/Francois Nel
Caster Semenya. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/Francois Nel

Caster Semenya, denied an opportunity to win a third successive Olympic 800m gold, will on Friday try to qualify for the Tokyo Games over 5,000m.

Semenya will run in a meeting in Durban where she must dramatically improve her personal best over the distance to be able to go to the Olympics in two months’ time.

The 30-year-old South African is banned from competing in any race from 400m to a mile after World Athletics ruled in 2018 that to ensure fair competition women with high natural testosterone levels must take drugs to reduce them to compete in middle-distance races.

Semenya, who refuses to take medication to alter her testosterone levels, has challenged the ruling but several appeals have been dismissed.

The 5,000m is therefore her best chance to go to the Tokyo Games. Semenya set a time of 15min 52.28sec in winning the SA title over 5,000m in Pretoria in April but it was 42sec slower than the 15:10.00 needed to qualify for the Olympics.

Last year she considered the 200m but quickly gave up plans, saying she saw no future for herself in sprints and feared injury.

Semenya continues to challenge World Athletics’ ruling and has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights but the case is unlikely to be completed when the Games begin in July.

Her attorney, Greg Nott, told local media this week Semenya is hoping to have the matter settled before the 2022 World Athletics Championship in Eugene, Oregon.



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