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Articles tagged #Caster Semenya
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Caster Semenya unnoticed at World Championships The South African Olympic champion fails to advance in the 5,000 meters in Oregon – her first major international competition since 2017

How many times had South Africa’s Caster Semenya charged onto the Hayward Field homestretch seemingly in a different race than the rest of the pack, the sport’s most storied stadium rocking as Semenya raced into the deafening roar?

How many times had American track and field’s most knowledgeable fans, most passionate crowd stood in appreciation of the two-time Olympic, three-time World 800-meter champion?

On a scalding hot afternoon at the World Championships on Wednesday, Semenya labored through the final meters of her 5,000-meter heat in front of a half-empty stadium, largely ignored or unnoticed even in a place that calls itself Tracktown U.S.A.

Semenya, one of the most compelling and controversial athletes of her generation, has fallen so far off the sport’s radar since 2019 that the most well-known of her fellow competitors on Wednesday didn’t even realize she was in the competition.

“Caster?” asked Sifan Hassan, the Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 champion from the Netherlands, who ran in a later heat on Wednesday.

“Caster Semenya ran the 5,000?” Hassan asked again. “ I had no idea. I didn’t even know she was here. Did she make it?”

Semenya, running in her first major international competition since winning the 2017 Worlds 800 title, did not advance to the final, finishing 13th in her heat, running 15 minutes, 46.12 seconds, nearly a minute off the winning time of Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia (14:52.69).

“Cooking,” Semenya said after the race, referring to the heat. She declined to answer reporters’ questions.

Under different circumstances, the sport would be obsessing over the prospect of a showdown between Semenya, 31, and Athing Mu, the 20-year-old Olympic champion from the U.S. in Sunday’s 800 final and whether the pair could challenge the world record of 1:53.28 that was set by Czechoslovakia’s Jarmila Kratochvilova in 1983.

Instead, Semenya, who was assigned female at birth, raised as a girl and identifies as a woman has not raced the 800 in meets sanctioned by World Athletics, the sport’s international governing body, because of her refusal to submit to the organization’s guidelines regarding intersex athletes.

Under the World Athletics guidelines athletes in events from the 400 to the mile – in other words, Semenya’s events – are required to take hormone suppressing drugs to reduce their testosterone to below 5 nanomoles per liter for at least six months before being allowed to compete internationally.

Semenya has an intersex condition called Differences in Sexual Development (DSD) or 46, XY that because of differences in sex development that causes male and female traits and a testosterone level higher than the typical female range. She is not transgender.

“I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete,” Semenya said in 2019, shortly before the Prefontaine Classic, her final 800. “The IAAF will not drug me or stop me from being who I am.”

Semenya had found herself unwittingly in the center of controversy almost from the moment she emerged on the world stage a decade earlier.

She won her first Worlds title in 2009 as an 18-year-old, a victory that prompted Russia’s Mariya Savinova to suggest the South African was a man.

“Just look at her,” Savinova said.

While the results of Semenya’s sex test were supposed to be confidential they were leaked to Australia’s Daily Telegraph. Semenya has internal testes but no ovaries or womb, the newspaper reported quoting the test report.

“She is a woman, but maybe not 100 percent,” IAAF secretary general Pierre Weiss said at the time, doing nothing to discourage the headline writers at New York’s Daily News who blared that the World champion “is a woman … and a man.”

Semenya began taking a hormone suppressant drug. She finished second to Savinova at both the 2011 Worlds and 2012 Olympics.

“The IAAF used me in the past as a human guinea pig to experiment with how the medication they required me to take would affect my testosterone levels,” she said in 2019. “Even though the hormonal drugs made me feel constantly sick the IAAF now wants to enforce even stricter thresholds with unknown health consequences.

“I will not allow the IAAF to use me and my body again. But I am concerned that other female athletes will feel compelled to let the IAAF drug them and test the effectiveness and negative health effects of different hormonal drugs. This cannot be allowed to happen.”

Semenya was awarded the 2012 Olympic gold medal in 2017, two years after the World Anti-Doping Agency recommended that Savinova receive a lifetime ban for doping and her results dating to July 2010 be disqualified.

Given the event’s suspect history, the irony of World Athletics now demanding she dope to level the playing field is not lost on Semenya.

“I’m not going to do that,” she told the Orange County Register after the 2019 Prefontaine meet. “I’m a very clean athlete. I believe in the clean sport. I believe in the equal opportunities. At the end of the day, this is a woman’s sport, this is a man’s sport. If they’re going come (at) me with that nonsense then why do you lead?”

Semenya challenged World Athletics guidelines with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A three-member CAS panel in June 2019 said the World Athletics policy was “discriminatory” toward athletes with DSD but two of the panel members, nevertheless agreed with the World Athletics that policy was “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” to counter advantages DSD athletes have over other female competitors. Semenya and other female athletes with DSD should be considered “biological males” World Athletics told CAS.

Switzerland’s Supreme Court rejected Semenya’s appeal in September 2020. She filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights in February 2021.

While Semenya fell short in her bid to reach the Olympic 200-meter qualifying standard last year, the success of other intersex athletes has raised further questions about the World Athletics policy.

(07/21/2022) Views: 95 ⚡AMP
by Scott Reid
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World Athletics Championships Oregon22

World Athletics Championships Oregon22

The World Athletics Championships was held in the United States for the first time ever. WCH Oregon22 was an unmissable global experience, and it took place in the United States for the very first time. The best track and field athletes in the world came together in a celebration of diversity, human potential, and athletic achievement. This extraordinary showcase took...

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Caster Semenya to make surprise comeback at world championships

Caster Semenya is listed to compete at next week's world championships in Oregon, potentially setting up a surprise return to the big stage for the two-time Olympic champion and one of the most contentious athletes.

Semenya was listed on Friday for the women's 5000m, an event she has turned to after being banned from running in her favorite 800m race by track and field's testosterone regulations.

Semenya's inclusion on a competitor list released by World Athletics was unexpected after she didn't make the qualifying time for the 5000 and was not included in the South Africa team for the worlds named this week.

NBC reported that Semenya was moved up onto the list for the worlds after some higher-ranked runners didn't enter the championships. South Africa's track federation and Semenya's representatives didn't immediately respond to requests for clarification.

If she runs, it will be the first time Semenya has appeared at a world championships or Olympics since 2017, when she won her third world title in the 800. She also has two Olympic golds over two laps but has been barred from running in races from 400m to one mile since 2019 under rules that bar women who have an intersex condition called 46,XY difference in sex development.

Semenya has twice gone to court to appeal against the rules but has lost both cases. She is pursuing a third appeal at the European Court of Human Rights.

Semenya's appearance at a worlds would also come just as athletics authorities are considering changes to their DSD regulations that might go so far as to completely exclude women athletes with 46,XY DSD and high natural testosterone from all female events at major meets.

Semenya was assigned female at birth, raised as a girl and identifies as a woman. She has never publicly identified herself as intersex – that is, having both male and female traits – or as having the 46,XY DSD condition.

However, she essentially acknowledged having the condition by appealing the DSD rules at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2018. Semenya has publicly acknowledged having high natural testosterone but has declined to submit to the DSD rules that state she must undergo treatment to suppress her natural hormone levels to below a specific threshold if she wants to compete in the 800m.

(07/09/2022) Views: 103 ⚡AMP
by Gerald Imray
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World Athletics Championships Oregon22

World Athletics Championships Oregon22

The World Athletics Championships was held in the United States for the first time ever. WCH Oregon22 was an unmissable global experience, and it took place in the United States for the very first time. The best track and field athletes in the world came together in a celebration of diversity, human potential, and athletic achievement. This extraordinary showcase took...

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The integrity of women’s sport is really important here, and we can not have a generation of young girls thinking there is not a future for them in the sport says Sebastian Coe

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has stated that the global athletics governing body will look at their rules concerning the inclusion of transgender athletes in female events at a Council meeting toward the end of this year.

This statement comes days after the International Swimming Federation (FINA), swimming’s governing body, voted to stop trans female athletes from competing in women’s elite races if they have gone through any part of the gender transformation process after puberty or age 12. FINA also stated that they will establish an open category in some events for swimmers whose gender identity is different than their birth sex.

(Photo - Caster Semenya is a woman and a man. The South African champ has no womb or ovaries and her testosterone levels are more than three times higher than those of a normal female, according to reports.)

Transgender rights have become a major talking point in sports in an effort to balance inclusivity with ensuring they do not have an unfair advantage arising from the residual effects of puberty.

The debate intensified this year after University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas became the first transgender NCAA champion in history, winning the women’s 500-yard freestyle.

In an interview with BBC Sport, Coe, a two-time Olympic 800m champion, outlined his support for the recent measures taken by FINA.

“The integrity of women’s sport is really, really important here, and we can’t have a generation of young girls thinking there is not a future for them in the sport. So we have a responsibility…maintaining the primacy and the integrity of female competition is absolutely vital, and that’s why we were at the forefront of tabling those regulations that allow as close as you can get to a level playing field,” says Coe.

Coe on FINA’s ruling:

“This is as it should be. We have always believed that biology trumps gender and we will continue to review our regulations in line with this. We will follow the science.”

FINA’s new guideline means that Thomas, who has expressed a desire to compete for Team U.S.A. at the Paris Olympics, is now blocked from participating in the women’s category at the Games. There have been talks to establish an “open” category at world championships for athletes whose gender identity is different than their assigned gender at birth.

The current World Athletics guideline from 2018 states that transgender women can compete in the women’s category if they reduce their testosterone levels to below five nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before competing.

“We continue to study, research and contribute to the growing body of evidence that testosterone is a key determinant in performance, and have scheduled a discussion on our regulations with our council at the end of the year,” says Coe.

International sports federations may set their own policies but will be subject to World Athletics and IOC rules when it comes to sending athletes to the World Championships and Olympic Games.

(06/22/2022) Views: 163 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Prefontaine Classic promises world record attempts and rich competition despite late losses

It is a measure of Eugene’s Prefontaine Classic meeting - which tomorrow forms the third stop on the Wanda Diamond League tour - that it can lose four Olympic gold medalists at late notice and still remain packed with compelling competition and world record attempts.

The arrangement of all that athletics action was altered today following forecasts of rain and high winds - likely to be blowing into the faces of the sprinters - on Saturday.

Accordingly the men's pole vault, featuring Olympic gold and silver medalists Mondo Duplantis of Sweden and Chris Nilsen of the United States, the women's discus, featuring the US Olympic champion Valarie Allman, and the women's high jump, involving Ukraine's world indoor champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh, have been moved to Friday night's programme, where world record attempts are being made over two miles and 5,000 meters.

The news that the United States' Olympic women’s 800 meters champion Athing Mu will not now race against Britain’s Tokyo 2020 silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson, and that Italy’s men’s 100m champion Marcell Jacobs will not be in a field including the man he beat to gold in Japan, home sprinter Fred Kerley, was disappointing.

Also missing from the planned line-up at the new-look Hayward Field, which will stage this year’s World Athletics Championships, are home talents Matthew Centrowitz, the Rio 2016 1500m gold medalist, Tokyo 2020 and world 400m hurdles silver medalist Rai Benjamin and double world pole vault champion Sam Kendricks.

And South Africa’s double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya, who had planned a first top-level race since 2019, has also withdrawn.

All this means the limelight will shine all the more intensely on stellar performers such as Jamaica’s double Olympic women’s 100 and 200m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, who runs over the shorter sprint against a field including the American who missed last year’s Olympics because of a three-month suspension after testing positive for cannabis, Sha’Carri Richardson.

Britain’s world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith, who last Saturday won the Birmingham Diamond League 100m from which Thompson-Herah had made a late withdrawal, is also in the mix, as is Switzerland’s world indoor 60m champion Mujinga Kambundji and Jamaica’s Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist Shericka Jackson.

Thompson-Herah chose to make a low-key start to her outdoor season, choosing to compete in Kingston, where she clocked 10.94sec despite a strong headwind of -1.8 meters per second.

It was on this track last year that she ran 10.54, putting her second on the all-time list.

The men’s 100m is also loaded given the presence of Kerley and his fellow Americans Trayvon Bromell, who will be keen to restore normal working after his early exit in Birmingham because of a false start, world champion Christian Coleman, world 200m champion Noah Lyles and Canada’s Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse.

And 18-year-old Erriyon Knighton, who last year became the youngest male athlete to represent the United States since middle distance runner Jim Ryun in 1964 and missed a 200m medal by one place, will seek to break 10sec for the first time.

Knighton already tops this year’s 200m world list with his startling 19.49sec in Baton Rouge last month, which put him fourth on the all-time list.

The women’s 200m will see double Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo taking on Jamaica’s 35-year-old Beijing 2008 and London 2012 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won world gold at this distance in 2013 and took silver at the London 2012 Olympics.

The men’s 400m will see Kirani James of Grenada, the London 2012 champion and Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist, take on home athletes including Michael Cherry, Michael Norman – a major talent currently seeking a performance to do himself justice - Vernon Norwood and Kahmari Montgomery.

The absence of Benjamin from the 400m hurdles will offer Brazil’s Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist Alison Dos Santos - who beat Benjamin in the opening Diamond League meeting of the season in Doha – a perfect chance to shine,

In the women’s 100m hurdles, Puerto Rico’s Olympic champion takes on the American who took silver behind her in Tokyo, world record holder Kendra Harrison.

The traditional Friday evening distance racing in Eugene will include a women’s two miles and a women’s and men’s 5000m race.

At the latter, which will be followed by an official Diamond League 5,000m on Saturday, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei is billed to make an attempt at breaking his own world record of 12min 35.36sec, which he ran in Monaco in August 2020.

On Saturday afternoon the majority of the rivals Cheptegei beat to win Olympic 5,000m gold in Tokyo last year will line up for the Diamond League 5.000m, where Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega of Ethiopia, Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda, Olympic 5,000m silver Mohammed Ahmed of Canada and two-time Olympic 5,000m medalist Paul Chelimo of the United States are the main contenders.

Friday night will also see Ethiopia’s 24-year-old Letesenbet Gidey aiming to lower the women’s 5000m world record of 14:06.62 that she set in Valencia in October 2020.

Gidey has since lowered the women’s 10,000m world record to 29min 01.03sec and the world half marathon record to 1hr 2min 52sec.

Elsewhere on Friday, the women’s two miles will see Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, the Olympic 5,000 and 10,000m champion, facing Diamond League 5,000m champion Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi.

The latter, who was disqualified at the Tokyo 2020 Games, beat Kenya’s double Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon over 3,000m in Doha earlier this month.

The world best of 8:58.58, set by Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar in 2007, is sure to be under threat.

Saturday’s middle-distance action will be highlighted by the clash of Olympic 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and world champion Timothy Cheruiyot, who renew their rivalry in the Bowerman Mile. 

Ingebrigtsen beat Cheruiyot for the first time in the Olympic final in Tokyo last year but the Kenyan beat his Norwegian rival a few weeks later to win over 1500m at the Diamond League final in Zurich.

Both men will need to be primed, however, to beat Kenya’s Abel Kipsang, who out-kicked Cheruiyot to win in Doha recently and who backed it up with 1500m victory in Birmingham last Sunday.

Kipyegon meanwhile will take on Britain’s Tokyo 2020 silver medalist Laura Muir and Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia in the women’s 1500m.

Hodgkinson faces an 800m field that includes home runner Ajee Wilson, who took the world indoor title earlier this year.

The men’s shot put will involve the respective Tokyo 2020 gold, silver and bronze medalists Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs of the United States and New Zealand’s Tom Walsh.

(05/27/2022) Views: 213 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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Prefontaine Classic

Prefontaine Classic

The Pre Classic, part of the Diamond League series of international meets featuring Olympic-level athletes, is scheduled to be held at the new Hayward Field in Eugene. The Prefontaine Classicis the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite Wanda Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has...

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Caster Semenya runs a new personal best in a 3000m win in Cape Town

The two-time Olympic gold medalist, who is eyeing a place in the South African team for the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, was using the shorter race to build up speed for preferred 5000m.

Caster Semenya was the star attraction of the second edition of the Athletics South Africa Grand Prix in Cape Town on Wednesday (March 23) and the two-time Olympic champion didn't disappoint, racing to her fastest ever women's 3000m.

Running in only her second major event this season, the double women's 800m gold medalist took charge of the race with two laps to go and held on to cross the finish line in a personal best of 8:54.97.

Semenya, who was using the race to build up speed for her now preferred event the 5000m, trailed early leader Kyla Jacobs before making the decisive move and dip below nine minutes for the first time over the shorter distance.

“The run was a little bit tricky,” Semenya said in an interview with World Track.

“Fortunately before the start, the wind died down a bit and worked in our favor. It was a great race, happy with the result. The target obviously was to break nine minutes and we achieved the goal [so] now we’ll have to go back to the drawing board and work more on mileage.”

The leaner looking Semenya finished comfortably ahead of her closest challenger Aynslee Van Graan who timed 9:09.63 while her compatriot and training partner Glenrose Xaba finished in third place in 9:12.51.

The triple 800m world champion’s previous personal best over the 3000m was 9:04:20 from Potchefstroom in May 2021 when she was chasing qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021.

She missed out on her target of 15:10.00 which meant she didn't qualify for the Olympics after finishing in fourth place in a 5000m meet in Belgium in 15:50.12 in June 2021.

The South African 5000m national champion, who raced to her personal best of 15:32.15 in May 2021 opened her season with a 5000m of 15:36.55 on March 12 at the Gauteng North Championships in Pretoria.

She is eyeing qualification for the World Athletics Championships in Oregon. The qualification mark for the worlds set for July 15 to 24 for the women’s 5000m is 15:10.00.

(03/24/2022) Views: 215 ⚡AMP
by Evelyn Watta
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World Athletics Championships Oregon22

World Athletics Championships Oregon22

The World Athletics Championships was held in the United States for the first time ever. WCH Oregon22 was an unmissable global experience, and it took place in the United States for the very first time. The best track and field athletes in the world came together in a celebration of diversity, human potential, and athletic achievement. This extraordinary showcase took...

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South African Caster Semenya cleared to compete until Swiss court ruling

Caster Semenya will be allowed to compete without restriction until the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland has passed judgment on a new IAAF ruling.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that the IAAF could implement a regulation that would require Semenya to take medication to lower her testosterone levels in order to compete against women in track events ranging from 400 meters to a mile.

However, the two-time Olympic 800 meters champion has continued to challenge the ruling and lodged an appeal in Switzerland last week.

The 28-year-old asked the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to set aside the decision in its entirety.

It has now been confirmed that the IAAF must suspend its implementation of the regulations until the Swiss Supreme Court, which will receive submissions from the body, has made a ruling.

Semenya, who ruled out retiring after winning the 800 at the Diamond League event in Doha last month, two days after the CAS ruling was announced, will be able to compete for the time being.

"I am thankful to the Swiss judges for this decision," she said in a statement released Monday. "I hope that following my appeal I will once again be able to run free."

Dorothee Schramm, Swiss counsel for Semenya, said: "The Swiss Supreme Court has granted welcome temporary protection to Caster Semenya. This is an important case that will have fundamental implications for the human rights of female athletes."

(11/17/2021) Views: 284 ⚡AMP
by Ben Spratt
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IOC plans to move away from its current approach to protect and promote intersex and transgender athletes due to conflicting opinions

The International Olympic Committee has delayed its decision on addressing the fairness and inclusion of women’s sports at the Olympic Games, and the protection of transgender athletes during competition.

The IOC wanted to reach a decision before the 2022 Winter Games, but it has now been delayed due to conflicting opinions.

The news was revealed by the IOC’s Science and Medical Director, Dr. Richard Budgett, who wants to prioritize inclusion for international sports federations.

The current guideline from 2015 states that trans-women can compete in the women’s category if they choose to reduce their testosterone levels for 12 months below 10 nanomoles per litre.

However, for the IOC to protect the human rights of an intersex or transgender athlete during competition, the policy needs to shift.

In Tokyo 2020, DSD-athlete Christine Mboma and Francine Niyonsaba had to compete outside of their middle distance events due to high testosterone regulations, and 2016 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya (also a DSD athlete) failed to qualify for the Games outside of her discipline.

The plan is to move away from the current approach to protect and promote intersex and transgender athletes in competitions. The idea is to allow trans-women to compete in the women’s category without having gender reassignment surgery, as long as they can keep their testosterone levels low.

When the IOC and World Athletics choose to make their decision, international federations will have to follow suit to determine specific rules for each sport.

(09/23/2021) Views: 301 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Caster Semenya's lawyers demand World Athletics drop controversial testosterone rules that forced South African to abandon her attempts to defend her 800m Olympics Title

Caster Semenya's laywers have fresh hope that World Athletics' controversial testosterone laws will be ditched after the governing body's scientists admitted the findings that helped trigger the rules 'could have been misleading'.

Semenya was not able to defend her double Olympic 800m title in the Tokyo Games due to rules prohibiting athletes with differences of sexual development from competing unless they take hormone-lowering medication.

World Athletics are now facing calls to scrap the regulations after their scientists admitted some findings were 'on a lower level of evidence'.

The 2017 findings noted a performance increase in females with high testosterone levels. 

But the British Journal of Sports Medicine has now released a 'correction' to the findings, leading campaigners to argue the rules should be ditched.

In the new report, Stephane Bermon, director of World Athletics' Health and Science Department, and his predecessor Pierre-Yves Garnier, wrote: 'To be explicit, there is no confirmatory evidence for causality in the observed relationships reported. We acknowledge that our 2017 study was exploratory.'

They add: 'With this in mind, we recognise that statements in the paper could have been misleading by implying a causal inference.

'Specifically, 'Female athletes with high fT [testosterone] levels have a significant competitive advantage over those with low fT in 400 m, 400 m hurdles, 800 m, hammer throw, and pole vault.'

'This statement should be amended to: 'High fT levels in female athletes were associated with higher athletic performance over those with low fT in 400 m, 400 m hurdles, 800 m, hammer throw, and pole vault.' 

'This is very significant new information,' Semenya's lawyer Gregory Nott, of Norton Rose Fulbright, told Telegraph Sport.

'We are in the midst of the European Court of Human Rights case and will be discussing with our London QC and the whole legal team how to introduce the information into the proceedings.

'World Athletics have recently given notice of their wish to intervene in the European Court of Human Rights proceedings and we would hope that they will now support setting aside the regulations.

'It is more than surprising that World Athletics did not reveal this evidence before the recent Tokyo Olympics and allow Caster to defend her 800m title.'

Semenya spoke of her disappointment at not being able to compete in Tokyo after losing her appeal to Switzerland's Federal Supreme Court in September last year. 

'I am very disappointed. I refuse to let World Athletics drug me or stop me from being who I am,' she said.

(08/19/2021) Views: 337 ⚡AMP
by Lewis Steele
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Women that have been barred from Olympics for being manly

One day, Annet Negesa was pushing her body to endure and make her the champion she believed she was born to be. On another day, her Olympics dreams were crushed because she was faster, stronger.

Annet Negesa reportedly still harbours intentions to run for her country. She runs every day, with the hope of returning to international competitions one day. 

Hers is a case of unfinished business, a dream that was cut short in June 2012 when she received a call from a doctor from track and field’s world governing body telling her, according to the New York Times newspaper - that “she would no longer be competing in the London Olympics because her testosterone levels were too high for competition,” thereby giving her an unfair advantage over other female athletes.

Negesa, 20 then, was one of Uganda’s top athletes. On the back of her London preparations, she set a national record for 800 metres earlier that year at a meet in Netherlands.

She was a three-time national champion and brought home a gold medal at the 2011 All-Africa Games.

She identifies as female and was born with external female genitalia but also with internal male genitalia that produce levels of testosterone that men do.

Most women, including elite female athletes, have natural testosterone levels of 0.12 to 1.79 nanomoles per litre, according to World Athletics. The typical male range after puberty is reportedly much higher, at 7.7 to 29.4 nanomoles per litre.

After years of litigation, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2019 upheld World Athletics’ testosterone restrictions for female athletes in races with distances from 400 meters to the mile after renowned athlete Caster Semenya (we shall get to her later in the article), filed an appeal.

The court ruled by a 2-to-1 vote that the restrictions were indeed discriminatory but also a “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” means of achieving the World Athletics goal of preserving a level playing field in women’s track events.

Therefore intersex athletes (these are said to be roughly one in every 2,000 births), who want to participate in middle-distance women’s track events must take hormone-suppressing drugs and reduce testosterone levels to below five nanomoles per litre (5 nmol/L) for six months before competing, then maintain those lowered levels.

Unfortunately, the intervention seems to have come seven years late for Negesa, who claims World Athletics physician Dr Stéphane Bermon gave her surgery as her first option to reduce testosterone levels in 2012. 

But Negesa has since battled persistent headaches and achy joints that have not allowed her to pursue her career. Her postoperative care, which according to documents seen at the Kampala Hospital by the New York Times should have been recommended in further discussions with Dr Bermon, did not include the kind of hormone treatment that might have helped her body adjust to the change.

After Negesa appeared in a ‘break the silence’ documentary on German television’s ARD network in October 2019, World Athletics issued a statement denying that it participated in or recommended a specific treatment to Negesa.

Third category

Nine years after Negesa’s predicament, another recommendation to World Athletics; to introduce a third category of events in order to allow competitors with high testosterone levels to compete in their preferred disciplines, seems to be gathering steam after Kenyan 800m runner Margaret Wambui was ruled out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“It would be good if a third category for athletes with high testosterone was introduced; because it is wrong to stop people from using their talents,” Wambui told BBC Sport Africa.

The sport’s governing body, World Athletics, says it has no plans to introduce such a category and will stick to its current classifications of men’s and women’s events.

The idea of a third category in athletics has been floated before, but Wambui is the first athlete to express outright support for the suggestion.

“We would be the first people to compete in that category - so we can motivate others who are hiding their condition,” she said.

Since World Athletics introduced its latest rules governing DSD (disorders of sex development) athletes in 2018, not one of the three athletes who stood on the 800m podium in Rio has contested the distance at a global international championship.

At the 2016 Games, Wambui was beaten to gold by Semenya and silver by Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba.

“It is sad to see that the whole podium won’t be there.”  “They cut short our careers, because that wasn’t our plan. I feel bad that I won’t be in the Olympics because of World Athletics rules,” says Wambui.

(07/26/2021) Views: 457 ⚡AMP
by Daily Monitor
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Top athletes Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi left off Namibian Olympic team over high natural testosterone levels

Two of the world’s top female 400m runners have been discretely scratched from their country’s Olympic team after medical tests indicated they have high natural testosterone levels. Namibia’s Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, both 18 years old, will not be allowed to compete in the 400m in Tokyo this summer.

Mboma is currently ranked number one in the world at the 400m, after she ran won the 400m at the Irena Szewinska Memorial/Byrdgoszcz cup in Poland on June 30 in a world-leading time of 48.54. Masilingi ran 49.53 at a meet in Zambia in April, which still stands as the third-fastest time run this year.

Both women have been found to have naturally high levels of testosterone, but are not DSD athletes and both have XX chromosomes. Still, their hormone levels have rendered them ineligible to compete in any distance ranging from the 400m to the mile. This is the same rule that prevents DSD athletes like South Africa’s Caster Semenya, Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba and Kenya’s Margaret Wambui from competing in the 800m at the elite level.

The Namibian Athletic Committee has said in a statement that neither athlete was aware they had this condition, and the country’s athletic federation has said both women will now focus their full attention on the 200m.

Since they were introduced in 2018, the World Athletics testosterone regulations have been hotly debated in the world of elite sports, and Semenya has appealed the decision in several courts. The two-time Olympic 800m champion has lost two appeals, but is currently waiting on a third hearing. For now, however, the rule stands, and all athletes affected by the rule will be forced to compete in different events.

(07/07/2021) Views: 480 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Caster Semenya fails to make olympic qualifiyng mark in 5,000m in latest attempt

Caster Semenya failed in her latest attempt to achieve an Olympic qualifying time for the 5,000m.

The South African finished in fourth, running 15:50.12 in Belgium which is short of the 15:10.00 qualifying mark required for Tokyo 2020.

Semenya would not have been allowed to compete in Tokyo even if she achieved the time, the deadline of June 29 set by governing body World Athletics has passed with no rooms for exceptions.

"We did double check with World Athletics about the deadline and it was cast in stone. There would have been no special grace for Caster," Athletics South Africa spokesman Sifiso Cele said.

Semenya ran 15:52.28 in April, 15:32.15 in May and 15:57.12 earlier this month.

The 30-year-old can only run in 100m, 200m or long-distance races and said in February she was challenging the testosterone policy at the European Court of Human Rights with a third legal appeal.

No date has been set for her case with it likely to be heard after the Tokyo Olympics gets underway on July 23.

(07/01/2021) Views: 349 ⚡AMP
by Eurosport
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Time is running out for Caster Semenya as African Championships have been cancelled

The African Athletics Championships in Lagos have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, removing another avenue for South African runner Caster Semenya to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

The event was scheduled for Lagos later this month after Nigeria had stepped in at the last moment to replace Algeria as hosts, but the Nigerian government has disallowed the event due to COVID-19 concerns.

Semenya, who is hoping to qualify for the 3000m and 5000m races, is waiting on a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights over her testosterone-related ban from her preferred races of 800m and 1500m.

She had been intending to use the African Championships to qualify in the 5000m, after failing to do so at a recent meet in Pretoria.

The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) said on Tuesday: "It is with great regret that we announce the cancellation of the Senior African Championships which were scheduled in Lagos from June 23-27.

"Unfortunately, Nigeria, which pledged to host, has since told us their authorities have not given permission to host such a large-scale competition."

While there are no other plans for continental meetings to allow athletes to obtain the required qualification standards for Tokyo, South African athletes still have a number of opportunities to qualify before the cut off date of June 29.

James Moloi, president of Athletics South Africa, said on Tuesday: "Most of Africa and indeed, the major part of the world, is still being held hostage by the pandemic.

"It's a pity, therefore, that our athletes will not be benefitting from the great competition that the African Champs offer and it's unlikely that there will be another opportunity to host the continental event before the Olympic Games.

"However, this is not entirely a lost course for our athletes who are still looking for competition to qualify for the Games as there are several competitions that are available in our domestic calendar at our ASA provinces."

He added of Semenya's races: "KZN Athletics, for instance, will include the 5000m events in their Middle Distance Meeting [on 18 June]."

Travel restrictions make it difficult for athletes to go to meetings in Europe or the US, leaving many African athletes with few options over the next three weeks.

(06/09/2021) Views: 436 ⚡AMP
by Lindsay Du Plessis
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba, who changed events due to testosterone rule, runs Olympic qualifier

She ran a time of 14 minutes 54.38, which is also a new national record, as she finished fourth in the race to easily better the Olympic qualifying time of 15:10.00.

It was just her second race over the distance having just missed out on the qualifying standard when she ran 15:12.08 at a meeting in Spain last month.

"A challenge is not a barrier. It's an opportunity to do better. Heading to Tokyo with a great qualifying time," she posted on Twitter.

The race was won by Kenya's Beatrice Chebet, who finished just over two seconds ahead of Niyonsaba.

The 28-year-old, who won silver over 800m at the 2016 Games in Rio, has decided to move up to the long distance event rather than taking testosterone-reducing drugs.

Under the latest World Athletics regulations Niyonsaba is classified as having 'Differences of Sexual Development' - or 'DSD' - and so is not allowed to compete in events between 400m and a mile without taking testosterone-reducing drugs.

At the same meeting on the outskirts of Paris Burkina Faso's Hugues Fabrice Zango continued his good form with another win on the triple jump with a leap of 17.67 metres.

Ivory Coast's Marie Josee Ta Lou won the women's 100m in a time of 11.06 seconds just ahead of The Gambia's Gina Bass in 11.30.

Ta Lou's compatriot Arthur Cisse was victorious in the men's event clocking a time of 10.11 seconds.

Kenya's Abel Kipsang was the other African winner on the night in the men's 1500m as he finished ahead of compatriot Charles Simotwo, with Morocco's Brahim Kaazouzi in third place.

On Friday South Africa's Caster Semenya, Niyonsaba's great rival over 800m and another athlete classified as DSD, finished outside the qualifying mark for the 5,000m.

The 30-year-old finished in 15 minutes 32.15 seconds at meeting in Durban - 22.15secs outside the qualifying time.

It was her second bid to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

(06/02/2021) Views: 419 ⚡AMP
by Sport Africa
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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South African Caster Semenya runs PB, misses 5,000m Olympic standard by 22 seconds

Olympic and world 800m champion Caster Semenya raced a 5,000m on Friday at a race in her home country of South Africa, and while her 15:32.15 run was a 20-second PB, it was still well off the Olympic standard of 15:10.00. 

A 2019 World Athletics ruling bars Semenya, who is an athlete with DSD (differences of sexual development), from competing in races from the 400m up to the mile, so she has set her sights on the 5,000m for the upcoming Tokyo Games.

Since the WA ruling blocked Semenya and other DSD athletes (who have higher-than-normal levels of testosterone) from competing in anything from the 400m to the mile, it gave her a couple of options: drop down to sprint races or jump up to longer runs. A third option offered by WA was for DSD athletes to take medications to lower their testosterone, but Semenya refused to do so. 

At first, Semenya dabbled in sprints, and in 2020, she got her 200m PB down to 23.49 seconds. This was still well off the Olympic 200m standard of 22.80, though, and Semenya shifted gears once more, this time jumping up to the 5,000m (which is the next-shortest race available to her and other DSD athletes in the Olympic program). She has raced the 5,000m three times in 2021, improving with each run. 

First, she ran 16:14.43 in March, finishing more than a minute off Olympic standard. A few weeks later, she broke 16 minutes for the first time in her career, posting a huge PB of 15:52.28. Unfortunately for Semenya, despite the big step toward Olympic standard, this time was still 42 seconds slower than she needed to run. On Friday, she got closer to standard, but she still sits well away from 15:10.00. The Olympic qualifying window closes at the end of June.

One piece of good news for Semenya is the fact that only one South African woman has hit Olympic standard during this current qualifying period. Dominique Scott ran 14:59.08 at a race in the U.K. in July 2019, which gives her by far the best result among South African women since the qualifying window opened in May of that same year.

This is good for Semenya because it means she doesn’t have to compete with other South African Olympic hopefuls. Each country can only send three men and three women per event to the Olympics, and if three South African women had already hit standard, it would likely mean that Semenya would have to not only run under 15:10.00, but also beat the slowest of those athletes. 

Semenya is not the only DSD athlete looking to make the Tokyo Games in the 5,000m — Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba has also made the jump up in distance. Niyonsaba won silver behind Semenya in the 800m at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and the 2017 world championships. While Semenya was the stronger of the two in the 800m, it looks like Niyonsaba is better at the 5,000m, as she recently ran a Burundian national record of 15:12.08. This time won’t get her into the Olympics, but seeing as she’s just two seconds off standard, she appears to have a much better shot at making it to Tokyo than Semenya does.

 

(05/29/2021) Views: 331 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Francine Niyonsaba runs 5,000m debut, finishes just off Olympic standard in 15:12.08

World and Olympic 800m silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi raced a 5,000m in Spain on May 22, and she finished with a national record of 15:12.08.

Niyonsaba’s result was just off the Olympic standard of 15:10.00, and it was her first official race over 5,000m. Like South Africa’s Caster Semenya, Niyonsaba is an athlete with DSD (differences of sexual development), and a 2019 World Athletics ruling prevents her from competing in any events from 400m up to the mile. 

Niyonsaba, Semenya and other DSD athletes (who have higher-than-usual rates of testosterone) had to make a tough decision when WA barred them from competing in certain events. They could take hormone-suppressing drugs to lower their testosterone levels, drop down in distance to compete in sprinting events like the 100m and 200m or jump up to races longer than a mile. Refusing to take any hormone suppressants, Semenya has spent the past couple of seasons testing out both ends of the racing spectrum, running races as short as 200m and as long as 5,000m. 

Semenya has made progress in both arenas, but her PBs of 23.49 seconds in the 200m and 15:52.28 in the 5,000m are well off the Olympic standards of 22.80 and 15:10.00. Niyonsaba, however, has set her sights solely on the 5,000m, and her undivided focus on the longer race seems to have paid off, as she is now just a couple of seconds away from qualifying for the Tokyo Games. 

Niyonsaba announced her plans to compete in the 5,000m in February, and she now has a little over a month to lower her PB by a couple of seconds in order to qualify for the Summer Games. (The Olympic qualifying window closes on June 29.) After the race, Niyonsaba took to social media to express her excitement in the run, writing, “So happy to be back in international competition with a great debut of 15:12 in the 5K..it was a big challenge but I faced it with great determination and perseverance.” 

(05/27/2021) Views: 350 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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South African Caster Semenya won 5,000m race, falls short of Tokyo qualifying time

Double Olympic 800 meters champion Caster Semenya moved closer to qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Games in a new event after defending her South African championships 5,000m title in Pretoria Thursday.

Semenya trimmed nearly 15 seconds off her personal best by crossing the line in 15 minutes 52.28 sec - 42.28 sec outside the Tokyo qualifying time of 15:10.

The race was staged at an altitude of 1,339 m (4,393 feet) and Semenya is considering running the same distance at sea level, where the air is less thin and times generally faster.

"If the guys in Durban (sea-level city) do something in May, I might run," Semenya said after her victory.

The qualifying deadline for Tokyo is June 29 with the Games scheduled from July 23 to August 8.

Semenya cannot defend the 800m title in Japan as she refuses to abide by World Athletics' testosterone-reducing regulations covering distances from 400m to the mile.

The South African is among a minority of female athletes who have an unusually high level of testosterone, which gives them added strength.

Two legal bids by the South African to overturn the ban have failed and she has taken her fight to the European Court of Human Rights, who have not indicated when the case will be heard.

"I am pretty happy with how I ran (today) - it is all about having fun. I can't really focus on Tokyo if I'm still building up myself at the moment."

The 30-year-old winner of the London and Rio 800m Olympic gold medals turned the tables on her training partner Glenrose Xaba, who clocked 15:55.25 and had beaten Semenya comfortably in a regional meet two weeks ago.

Last year, Semenya announced she would pursue Olympics 200m qualification.

But the three-time 800m world champion has changed her mind, believing distance races will lengthen her career.

"I am 30 years old and if I were to do sprints it would be a risk to my muscles. In distance (running), there is more time to find consistency," said the three-time world 800m champion.

(04/15/2021) Views: 339 ⚡AMP
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Caster Semenya ran just the second 5,000m of her racing career on Saturday

South Africa’s Caster Semenya ran just the second 5,000m of her racing career on Saturday, finishing in second place at the AGN Championships in Pretoria. The multiple world and Olympic 800m champion finished in 16:14.43, finishing far back of the race winner and well off the Olympic standard of 15:10.00. She owns a 5,000m PB of 16:05.97 from 2019. 

Semenya has DSD (differences of sexual development), and after a 2019 World Athletics ruling, athletes with DSD aren’t allowed to compete in events from the 400m up to the mile. Semenya has challenged this ruling many times, taking it to several courts, but she has been unsuccessful in her attempts to have it overturned.

(Semenya is currently waiting on an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights, which is likely her last chance to get the ruling changed.) 

One way Semenya could continue to compete in the 800m would be to take medications to lower her testosterone levels, but she has refused to do so. This leaves her with one option: to compete outside of that banned zone from the 400m up to mile, meaning she has to drop to the 200m or jump to the 5,000m if she wants to race at the Olympics again. 

Last year, Semenya entered several sprinting races ahead of the pandemic. She won each of them (even setting the South African 300m record in 36.78) and eventually lowered her 200m PB to 23.49 seconds, still more than half a second off the Olympic standard of 22.80. 

Despite the large jump required to qualify for the Olympics, Semenya remained confident, and last May she said she planned to stick with the 200m “no matter what.” Now, with just a few months to go until the Tokyo Games, she seems to have reconsidered, although it doesn’t look like the 5,000m standard will be any easier to reach before the summer. 

(03/29/2021) Views: 357 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Sebastian Coe claims he went out of his way to keep competitive options open for differences in sexual development athletes

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has defended the decision his Federation took over athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD), claiming he had sought to keep competitive options open in the female category even though a different alternative may have been open to him.

The World Athletics rules, which went into effect in 2019, cap athlete testosterone levels in women’s events from the 400 metres through the mile for athletes with DSD such as South Africa’s Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya.

World Athletics said that no female athletes would have a level above the cap - five nanomoles per litre - unless they had a DSD or a tumour, and that in the case of athletes in the DSD category testosterone-suppressing medication would need to be taken in order to bring levels into the agreed range.

Semenya has lost appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland against the World Athletics regulations over the past two years.

But earlier this month the South African Government’s Department of Sport, Arts and Culture pledged R12 million (£576,600/$803,000/€671,500) to help her appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against her testosterone ruling.

Speaking in a Sports Law Q&A podcast, Coe told British lawyer Jonathan Taylor: "If I’m being hard-nosed about it, if I’d stuck simply to the definitions around biology then I would probably have got support for preventing those athletes from competing at all in a female category,

"I didn’t want to do that."

Coe added: "So finding the right level of controllable testosterone over a period that allowed them to compete at those distances was for me absolutely in alignment with every philosophy, every principle that I went into the sport for.

"But then you get the next challenge about human rights.

"I am very acutely conscious of human rights.

"But the question I then ask is whose human rights are we talking about here?

"Are we talking about the millions of girls that enter athletics and want to feel that they are competing at least on a level footing, do I have a concern about them?

"Yes I do.

"But I also wanted to preserve that in a way that didn’t stigmatise and cause hurt to other athletes.

"It was a difficult decision to make.

"The easier decision would frankly have been to have sat there and done nothing at all, which if I’m being honest is where pretty much the most of sport has gone now.

"We have a similar challenge around transgender and our policy there was in large part driven and in alignment with what we have done around DSD.

"So you don’t come into any sport at the level I chose to get elected at and think you are going to make a lot of friends.

"You do have to do what you think is in the best interests of the sport and possibly that judgement is made way beyond the term that you are serving."

Referring to the decision taken in 2016 to ban Russian athletes competing in the wake of the scandal over organised doping in that country, Coe added: "I know that the approach we took about Russia didn’t leave us in a position of unalloyed joy with other sporting organisations out there.

"When we all went to the Rio Games you could feel the icy blast about what we’d done.

"But I don’t want athletics to ever be on the wrong side of history."

(03/18/2021) Views: 338 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom
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Semenya has received financial backing in bid to overturn World Athletics' ruling

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya has received a significant financial boost in her bid to overturn World Athletics' rules to allow her to compete in her favored events at this year’s Tokyo 2020 Games.

The South African Government’s Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has pledged R12 million (£576,600/$803,000/€671,500) to help Semenya appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against her testosterone ruling, according to newspaper The South African.

The funding pledge comes after Athletics South Africa asked the department to support Semenya’s quest to defend her 800 meters Olympic title.

Semenya is hoping to reverse a rule that would force her to take testosterone-suppressing medication to compete in her best events.

The World Athletics’ rules, which went into effect in 2019, cap athlete testosterone levels in women’s events from the 400m through the mile for athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD).

World Athletics said that no female athletes would have a level above the cap - five nanomoles per litre - unless they had a DSD or a tumor.

Semenya has lost appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland against the World Athletics regulations over the past two years.

Last month South Africa’s Government confirmed it was planning to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Yesterday, Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa pledged to help fund Semenya’s efforts when answering parliamentary questions.

"The department has also been approached by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) after they received a letter from the Commission for Gender Equality, which expressed interest in the matter and requested support from the Government to co-ordinate solidarity against World Athletics Female Athletes Classification Regulations," Mthethwa said in a report by The South African.

Mthethwa also said the Government had communicated with DIRCO to sponsor a resolution at the Human Rights Council.

"The hope that the appeal at the European Court of Human Rights may be successful is largely informed by this development and as a Government renowned for the protection and promotion of human rights, we should take an interest in the matter, moreover because our own shining star, Ms Semenya, is being targeted," added Mthethwa.

World Athletics has consistently said the rules are necessary to ensure female athletes can participate on fair and equal terms.

Semenya will be supported by a legal team led by Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers Gregory Nott and Patrick Bracher in Johannesburg, as well as Christina Dargham in Paris.

London based barristers Schona Jolly and Claire McCann, and Toronto-based lawyers James Bunting and Carlos Sayao are also part of Semenya’s legal team.

"I hope the European Court will put an end to the longstanding human rights violations by World Athletics against women athletes," said Semenya.

"All we ask is to be allowed to run free, for once and for all, as the strong and fearless women we are and have always been."

(03/15/2021) Views: 388 ⚡AMP
by Geoff Berkeley
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Caster Semenya has filed an application to the European Court of Human Rights in a final bid to overturn rules preventing her from defending her Olympic 800m title

The double Olympic and three-time world champion last year saw her appeal to Switzerland’s supreme court dismissed against a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling in 2019 that upheld controversial World Athletics rules for female runners with differences of sexual development (DSD).

Those rules prevent Semenya and other DSD athletes competing internationally at distances from 400 meters to the mile unless they lower their levels of testosterone through medication or surgery - something Semenya says she will not do.

On Thursday, the South African confirmed an application has now been filed to the European Court of Human Rights, as she continues to try different routes to have the regulations overturned following two appeal failures.

“I hope the European court will put an end to the longstanding human rights violations by World Athletics against women athletes,” said Semenya.

“All we ask is to be allowed to run free, for once and for all, as the strong and fearless women we are and have always been.”

Semenya’s team of lawyers, who span South Africa, France, Britain and Canada, said: “While the timeline of the application remains to be determined by the court, Caster remains ever hopeful that she will soon be allowed to return to the starting line in the 800m at international competition.

“Caster’s indomitable spirit continues to be a source of inspiration to all those fighting alongside her for the equality and dignity of women throughout the world.”

Even if the court disagrees with both the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Switzerland’s supreme court by ruling that World Athletics’ regulations should be overturned, it seems highly unlikely such a decision would be made before the upcoming Tokyo Games given the short time frame.

Last year, Semenya announced her intention to try and compete over 200m - a distance for which she would not need to take any medication - in Japan, although she ranked just 165th in the world in 2020 despite many leading athletes skipping the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking when Semenya initially announced her intention to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights last year, World Athletics said: “For many years World Athletics has fought for and defended equal rights and opportunities for all women and girls in our sport today and in the future.

“Throughout this long battle, World Athletics has always maintained that its regulations are lawful and legitimate, and that they represent a reasonable, necessary and proportionate means of ensuring the rights of all female athletes to participate on fair and equal terms.

(02/25/2021) Views: 409 ⚡AMP
by Bem Bloom
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2016 Olympic 800m silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba bids to race 5,000m at Tokyo Olympics

Francine Niyonsaba, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the women’s 800m, announced this week that she will be attempting to qualify for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics in the 5,000m after being barred from running any event between 400m and the mile unless she takes testosterone-suppressing measures.

The 27-year-old from Burundi finished in second place behind Caster Semenya at both the 2016 Olympics and the 2017 world championships, and both athletes (along with 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Margaret Wambui) have been at the centre of an ongoing and heated debate about hyperandrogenism in women’s sport. In April 2018, the IAAF announced that any athlete who has Differences of Sexual Development (DSD) will be ineligible to compete in any event between the 400m and the mile. Having DSD means that the athlete has levels of circulating testosterone (in serum) that are five nanomoles/litre or above and is androgen-sensitive.

According to the regulations, if an athlete with a DSD wishes to compete in any of the restricted events, she must fulfill the following criteria:

(a) she must be reconized at law either as female or as intersex (or equivalent);

(b) she must reduce her blood testosterone level to below five nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months (e.g., by use of hormonal contraceptives); and

(c) thereafter she must maintain her blood testosterone level below five nmol/L continuously (ie: whether she is in competition or out of competition) for so long as she wishes to remain eligible.

In light of these new restrictions, many DSD athletes, including Semenya and Niyonsaba, have instead chosen to compete in other events. Semenya has previously said she is bidding to make the Tokyo Olympics in the 200m, while Niyonsaba has chosen to jump up in distance. In 2019 she alluded to this decision in an interview with the Olympic Channel. When the interviewer asked her what she would do if she was forced to move up in distance, her response was “I can even run the marathon.”

“Running to get good results is just about training,” she said. “Nothing else. I’m always saying ‘be what you are, whatever you do.’ That’s how you get to success.”

She added that she will keep her vision and her passion because she loves running, and she will not stop. According to her Instagram, Niyonsaba recently ran a 10K cross-country race in 33:45, and while it doesn’t translate directly to the track, she was not far off the Olympic 10,000m qualifying standard of 31:25. Certainly the world of track will be watching to see what she does next, but with her determination, we expect great things.

“In my dream, I want to retire with the gold medal,” she said. “I know… I want to retire with the gold medal.”

(02/11/2021) Views: 636 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Two-time Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya takes a new step in appeal

Two-time Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya‘s lawyer said her team will take her case to the European Court of Human Rights, hoping to reverse a rule that would force her to take testosterone-suppressing measures to compete in her best events.

“We will be taking World Athletics to the European Court of Human Rights, and public support goes a long way to help show how the rules from World Athletics are against public interest,” Greg Nott said in a statement Tuesday. “With growing support from institutions and bodies across the globe, we remain hopeful that World Athletics will see the error it has made and reverse the prohibitive rules which restrict Ms. Semenya from competing.”

In the last two years, Semenya lost appeals through the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.

Semenya said she refused “to let World Athletics drug me or stop me from being who I am,” in a press release in September, after losing her Swiss court appeal. “Excluding female athletes or endangering our health solely because of our natural abilities puts World Athletics on the wrong side of history. I will continue to fight for the human rights of female athletes, both on the track and off the track, until we can all run free the way we were born. I know what is right and will do all I can to protect basic human rights, for young girls everywhere.”

The World Athletics rule, which went into effect in 2019, caps athlete testosterone levels in women’s events from the 400m through the mile for athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD). World Athletics said that no female athletes would have a level above the cap — five nanomoles per liter — unless they had a DSD or a tumor.

“Throughout this long battle, World Athletics has always maintained that its regulations are lawful and legitimate, and that they represent a fair, necessary and proportionate means of ensuring the rights of all female athletes to participate on fair and equal terms,” World Athletics said in a statement after the Swiss court ruling. “It has rejected the suggestion that they infringe any athlete’s human rights, including the right to dignity and the right to bodily integrity.”

Last March, Semenya announced she switched to the 200m, a distance outside of the new testosterone-cap rule, to pursue Tokyo Olympic qualification. Her personal-best 200m time is shy of automatic Olympic qualification.

Semenya is undefeated at 800m since the start of 2016. She and the other two Rio 800m medalists have said they are affected by the new rule.

(11/17/2020) Views: 442 ⚡AMP
by OlympicTalk
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Semenya and Van Niekerk among Athletics South Africa preparatory Olympic squad

Olympic champions Caster Semenya and Wayde van Niekerk are among 43 athletes included in Athletics South Africa’s preparation squad for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The preparation squad for the rescheduled Games features 32 men and 11 women, while a further 15 sprinters are in consideration for relay teams.

"We believe that we have assembled a very strong squad and we are confident that all the athletes are capable to be part of the final team, but that will be dependent entirely on them," Athletics South Africa President Aleck Skhosana told SuperSport.

"But they will have to stay focused to achieve that as they train in their various disciplines.

"Given the current global challenge caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we encourage athletes to take advantage of every available opportunity for competition because we don’t know what the future holds in terms of the fight against this virus.

"Whether it will get stronger or whether it will be defeated, we don’t know.

"So, we urge athletes to use opportunities at club, provincial or national level to prepare themselves."

Semenya is among the most well-known athletes in the squad.

The double Olympic champion last month lost an appeal to the Swiss Supreme Court over a World Athletics ruling which means she must take testosterone-reducing medication in order to be eligible to compete.

The current rules force athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD) to take drugs to medically reduce their naturally-occurring testosterone if they want to compete in women's events ranging from 400 meters to a mile.

She had previously appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over the policy, but was unsuccessful.

The ruling means Semenya is unable to defend her 800m Olympic crown at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games unless she takes medication.

Earlier this year Semenya expressed an interest in competing in the 200m at Tokyo 2020, an event not covered by the regulations.

Van Niekerk also features in the squad.

He set the 400m world record of 43.03sec when he earned Olympic gold at Rio 2016.

He competed in his first international race in more than three years last month.

Van Niekerk had been recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury picked up in 2017.

The preparatory squad also includes long jumper Luvo Manyonga and javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen, who both won silver medals at Rio 2016.

Manyonga won the men’s long jump world title in 2017.

Reigning Commonwealth Games men’s 100m champion Akani Simbine has been touted as a potential medal contender next year and also is included.

(10/31/2020) Views: 529 ⚡AMP
by Michael Pavitt
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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lawyer of Caster Semenya is preparing to approach the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the ban

The lawyer of South Africa’s Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya, barred from certain races unless she takes hormone suppressants, has told AFP he is preparing to approach the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the ban.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Semenya has differences of sexual development (DSD), a condition that causes her body to produce elevated testosterone levels.

The World Athletics governing body in 2018 banned Semenya and other DSD athletes from races between 400 metres and a mile unless they take hormone-suppressing drugs.

Semenya, 29, unsuccessfully challenged those rules at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

She then turned to Switzerland’s Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeal last month.

“It didn’t come as a complete surprise,” Semenya’s lawyer Gregory Nott said in an interview on Wednesday, noting that Swiss federal court cases were “very difficult to win”.

“As usual in Caster’s being, she took it very strongly and very well,” he recalled. “She is also up for further fighting.”

Nott said a legal team was preparing the paperwork to take the case before the European court (ECHR) — a process that would take “a few more months”.

Semenya would then decide whether to proceed or not, he added.

“We are merely the horse and she is the jockey, so we listen to what Caster has to say,” said Nott. “She has a mind of her own.”

In its judgement, the Swiss court concluded that the CAS decision “cannot be challenged”.

“Fairness in sport is a legitimate concern,” the court said, adding that the ECHR also attached “particular importance to the aspect of fair competition”.

(10/03/2020) Views: 467 ⚡AMP
by Agence France Presse
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Olympic champ Caster Semenya couldn`t defend 800m title in Tokyo without taking medication

Two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya lost her long legal battle Tuesday against track and field's rules that limit female runners' naturally high testosterone levels.

Switzerland's supreme court said its judges dismissed Semenya's appeal against a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling last year that upheld the rules drafted by track's governing body affecting female runners with differences of sex development.

The 71-page ruling means Semenya cannot defend her Olympic 800-meter title at the Tokyo Games next year — or compete at any top meets in distances from 400 metres to the mile — unless she agrees to lower her testosterone level through medication or surgery.

The 29-year-old South African repeatedly said she will not do that and reiterated her stance in a statement through her lawyers Tuesday.

"I am very disappointed by this ruling, but refuse to let World Athletics drug me or stop me from being who I am," Semenya said. "Excluding female athletes or endangering our health solely because of our natural abilities puts World Athletics on the wrong side of history."

The Swiss Federal Tribunal said Semenya's appeal "essentially alleges a violation of the prohibition of discrimination."

In a May 2019 verdict, the sport court's three judges had said in a 2-to-1 ruling the discrimination against Semenya was "necessary, reasonable and proportionate" to maintain fairness in women's track. Testosterone is a hormone that strengthens muscle tone and bone mass, and is a doping product if injected or ingested.

The panel of five federal judges said it was limited to examining "whether the CAS decision violates fundamental and widely recognized principles of public order. That is not the case."

Semenya's "guarantee of human dignity" was also not compromised by the CAS ruling, the judges decided.

"Implicated female athletes are free to refuse treatment to lower testosterone levels. The decision also does not aim to question in any way the female sex of implicated female athletes," the federal court said.

It's unclear what Semenya will choose to do next. She could compete in the 100 or 200 or at distances longer than the mile but she has never had the success in those events that she has had over two laps.

However, she had already switched her training this year to 200, hinting that she was prepared to lose in court.

Greg Nott, Semenya's long-time lawyer in South Africa, said her international team of lawyers was "considering the judgment and the options to challenge the findings in European and domestics courts."

Any appeal to the European Court of Human Rights would likely not receive a judgment until after the Tokyo Olympics open next July.

Tuesday's judgment also came at a financial cost to Semenya and South Africa's track federation, which joined her appeal. Each was ordered to pay 7,000 Swiss francs ($7,600 US) to the court and 8,000 Swiss francs ($8,700) toward World Athletics' legal costs.

 

(09/09/2020) Views: 591 ⚡AMP
by Graham Dunbar, Gerald Imray
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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South African Olympic champion Caster Semenya is focused on the 200m no matter the result of her appeal

South African Olympic champion Caster Semenya has locked her focus into the 200m, no matter the result of her appeal to overturn last year's Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic rocked the sporting globe, Semenya was in a court battle to get the CAS decision that allowed athletics governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), to prescribe hormone-suppressing drugs for any woman with disorder of sex development (DSD) competing in 400m to 1 500m events.

Her last throw of the dice was the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, who had yet to reach a verdict by the time of the global sporting shutdown. In the meantime, Semenya, who outright refused to take the drugs, went to work on the 200m sprint distance.

"That’s decided; we’ll stick to 200m no matter what," Semenya told Athletics South Africa (ASA).

"We don’t care about any other decision-making. We will do what we can control now, which is the 200m. That’s the race we’re going to focus on the entire season and we do not care about any other stuff. Two hundred it is."

Before the lockdown, Semenya ran impressive 200m times at the Gauteng North Championships in March, recording 23.80 and a personal best 23.49 in her first few outings. However, she still had considerable work to reach the qualifying time of 22.80 for next year’s Tokyo Games.

It’s an unprecedented feat. The closest anyone’s ever been successful at short and middle distance events was Cuban Alberto Juantorena, who won an historic 400m and 800m double at the Montreal Games in 1976. Semenya has a mountain to climb just to make it to her third Games.

Semenya said, though, that she harbored love for the 200m race from her younger days before she developed into one of the best 800m runners of all time and a two-time Olympic 800m gold medalist.

"I’m that athlete who does not worry about times; I take it as it comes. We ran 23.80 and then 23.49 and in the nationals we were hoping to go a little bit down," she said.

"I’ve always said that I’m a power athlete; I can do anything from 100m to a marathon. I have power and speed, which has helped me run a better 800m. From a young age I did the 200m and it has always been easy to do sprints - I was born with sprints.

"It’s crazy but I’m enjoying it. I wish I ran 200m from age 12. I don’t know where I could have been now."

(05/20/2020) Views: 528 ⚡AMP
by Sibusiso Mjikeliso
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Double Olympic and three-time world 800m champion Caster Semenya is currently unable to contest her favored event unless she takes medication

Caster Semenya has announced she will compete over 200 meters this year in a bid to make the Tokyo Olympics.

Semenya, 29, is currently unable to compete internationally at distances from 400m to the mile under World Athletics regulations requiring women in those events who have naturally occurring high levels of testosterone – termed athletes of different sexual development [DSD] – to take medication.

The South African double Olympic and triple world 800m champion has repeatedly refused to take the required medication and did not defend her world title in Doha last year. Instead, she has now decided to turn her attention to a distance that does not fall under the regulations.

"As you are all aware, I am unable to compete in the 800m and defend my title at the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year," said Semenya on Friday.

"My dream has always been, and will continue to be, to compete at the highest level of sport, and so in order to pursue my goals and dreams, I have decided to change events, and compete in the 200m.

"This decision has not been an easy one, but as always, I look forward to the challenge, and will work hard, doing all I can to qualify for Tokyo and compete to the best of my ability for South Africa."

Having operated predominantly in middle-distance events during her career, Semenya has few 200m races under her belt prior to this year. Her official personal best of 24.26sec was set last month, although she clocked an unratified 23.49sec at a low-key South African event on Friday.

She would still need to improve significantly on that to secure her place in Tokyo by meeting the Olympic qualifying standard of 22.80sec.

By way of reference, even the 23.49sec she recorded on Friday would have placed her just 18th in the British rankings last year. Dina Asher-Smith's winning time in claiming world gold was 21.88sec.

Semenya's legal challenge against World Athletics' testosterone regulations remains ongoing as she challenges a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which found in favor of the governing body.

(03/17/2020) Views: 606 ⚡AMP
by Ben Bloom
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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South Africa's 800m queen Caster Semenya says she has a surprise planned for her participation at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The 29-year-old Rio 2016 gold medalist had been the center of a controversial ruling from the IAAF that has placed restrictions on natural testosterone levels for female athletes competing in the 800m and 1 500m distances. 

That directly impacts Semenya, who now has to take medication to lower her natural testosterone levels if she is to take part over those distances in Tokyo. 

In an interview with Netwerk24, however, Semenya revealed that she has something up her sleeve. 

"I'm going to surprise you ... and you're going to like the surprise," Semenya said when asked what her plans for Tokyo were. 

Semenya acknowledged that there was very little she could do about the IAAF rulings, but she would not let that get in the way of her ambitions to compete at a third Olympics. 

"My biggest goal remains to be at the Olympics and I will work hard to achieve that," she said.

"No ruling is going to get in the way of that."

When asked about her appeal to the IAAF following the ruling, Semenya would not engage. 

"I don't want to say anything about that ... there are other people you need to ask," she said.

"It's an issue I have no control over.

"My focus now is on me and nothing else."

(03/06/2020) Views: 798 ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Caster Semenya has run her first public race in eight months, breaking the national 300m record at a low-level meeting at a South African university

Caster Semenya runs first public race for eight months in 300m before proclaiming: 'Track and field, you will still see my face'.  "I'm here to stay."

The Olympic 800m champion is currently banned from competing in her favored event at major meets, and any distance from 400m to one mile, unless she follows World Athletics rules that require her to medically reduce her natural testosterone levels to compete in women's competitions.

The regulations were designed for female athletes with differences of sex development like Semenya and have been severely criticized.

The race at the University of Johannesburg on Friday night, which also featured high school students, was Semenya's first appearance since June last year when she won an 800m race at the Prefontaine Classic in America.

"Track and field, you will still see my face," Semenya said after winning Friday's 300m race in 36.78 seconds. "That is all I can say for now."

It's not the first time Semenya has guaranteed a comeback. The Olympics are just five months away and it's doubtful if Semenya will be able to defend her title in the 800m. But maybe she has another plan.

Semenya, who turned 29 last month, has twice appealed against the regulations. She lost her first appeal at sport's highest court. Her second legal challenge at the Swiss supreme court is still being considered. Her chances of winning that second appeal are seen as slim.

Semenya has repeatedly refused to adhere to the testosterone regulations and her decision to open the Olympic year with a 300m race might be significant.

The rules do not apply to races below 400m and Semenya could compete in the 200m at the Olympics without having to reduce her hormone level.

Semenya didn't indicate if that was her intention when she stated that her track career was not over. The South African has rarely run the 200m and her personal best is 24.26 seconds. Semenya would have to improve that by nearly two seconds to meet the qualifying standard of 22.80 seconds for the Tokyo Olympics.

(02/19/2020) Views: 577 ⚡AMP
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The reigning 800m world champion Donavan Brazier sees an NFL career in his future

For most people, winning a world championship and racing for an Olympic medal would be enough to satisfy them. Donavan Brazier wants to try for more, but not in running. He wants to take a shot at making it in the NFL.

The 22-year-old 800m world champ and American record-holder has his sights set on Olympic gold, and he is the obvious favourite to win in Tokyo. At the 2019 world championships in Doha, Brazier won in an American record time of 1:42.34, which was over a second ahead of silver.

In an interview with Reuters before his win at the Millrose Games this past weekend, Brazier expressed his interest in an NFL career.

“When I’m in practice and I’m going through a lot of pain and training, I start thinking about anything else I’m good at so that I don’t have to do track,” he said. “The first thing I think of is NFL wide receiver.” Apparently this is not just a dream—he might really act on it, saying that he will consider trying out for an NFL team in the next couple of years.

This wouldn’t be the first time that a track star has transitioned into another sport. In 2018, Usain Bolt joined the Central Coast Mariners, a professional soccer team in Australia. He played for the club for two months (he even scored two goals in a friendly match) but ultimately walked away from the sport in November 2018.

It will be interesting to see if Brazier follows through with these plans, and if he does, to see how far he can go. If he does make it in the NFL, it will be a tall order for him to match the success of his track career. On Saturday at the Millrose Games, he took the win in the 800m in 1:44.22, a new U.S. men’s indoor record.

Brazier told Reuters that he sometimes get “too ahead of myself” in competitions. Hopefully he doesn’t look too far ahead to his NFL goals until he reaches a few more of his dreams on the track first.

(02/11/2020) Views: 757 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Boosting testosterone levels significantly improves female athletic performance, according to one of the first randomised controlled trials

Testosterone was assumed to be performance-enhancing and a factor in explaining differences in strength and endurance between men and women. However, there was a surprising lack of evidence on the impact of testosterone in women and the question had become mired in controversy following a series of rulings in professional sport.

The latest research confirmed that testosterone significantly increases endurance and lean muscle mass among young women, even when given for a relatively short period.

Angelica Hirschberg, a gynaecologist for the Swedish Olympic Committee based at Karolinska University Hospital and the study’s first author, said the results were the first to show a causal effect of testosterone on physical performance in women. “This has not been demonstrated previously because most studies have been performed in men,” she said. “Furthermore, the study shows the magnitude of performance enhancement by testosterone. Testosterone levels increased more than four times but were still much below the male range. The improvement in endurance performance by the increased testosterone levels was more than 8% – this is a huge effect in sports.”

Prof Chris Cooper, emeritus professor of biochemistry at the University of Essex, who was not involved in the work, said: “The data is really clear. This adds further evidence that if you give testosterone to female athletes. you improve their performance. Some people have suggested that testosterone is not the only sex difference, but it’s clearly the best indicator.”

Cooper added that, despite growing interest in the issue, the challenge in gaining ethics approval to give healthy women testosterone had resulted in a lack of empirical studies.

The IAAF ruled this week that trans female athletes must keep their levels of natural testosterone below 5 nanomoles per litre of blood to compete in the female category. The new regulation follows a similar limit imposed on athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD), including the South African Olympic gold medallist, Caster Semenya.

Semenya is challenging the IAAF’s new rules that athletes with DSD must take testosterone-reducing medication to compete in track events from 400m to the mile or change to another distance.

The athlete argued that the rules were discriminatory and unfair. In May, she said: “For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger.”

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in May found that the rules for athletes with DSD were discriminatory, but that the discrimination was “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” to protect “the integrity of female athletics”.

Critics of the limit have argued that testosterone is not the dominant factor in giving men a performance advantage in certain sports.

In the study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48 healthy 18- to 35-year-old women were randomly assigned to 10 weeks of daily treatment with 10mg of testosterone cream or 10mg of a placebo.

The scientists tested the hormone’s impact on aerobic performance measured by how long the women could run on a treadmill before reaching the point of exhaustion, and leg power, muscle strength and lean muscle mass.

Circulating levels of testosterone rose from 0.9 nmol/litre of blood to 4.3 nmol/L in the women given the hormone cream. This was below the recent 5 nmol/L IAAF limit and below the normal male range of 8-29 nmol/L.

Running time to exhaustion increased significantly by 21.17 seconds (8.5%) in the testosterone group, compared with those given the inactive substance. The group given the hormone also had significant changes in lean muscle mass, gaining 923g vs 135g overall and 398g vs 91g in their legs.

(10/19/2019) Views: 2,041 ⚡AMP
by Hannah Devlin
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The IAAF has set the same limit for trans women, as expected that it imposes on female athletes with DSD

World Athletics (formerly the IAAF) has ruled that transgender women must maintain testosterone levels at a maximum of 5 nanomoles per liter for 12 months before being declared eligible to compete, it was announced. The limit is half the previous limit of 10 nmol/l, in effect since 2015.

The new rule, passed during IAAF Council meeting in Doha at the conclusion of the recent World Championships, brings guidelines for female transgender athletes into line with those imposed on female athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) such as Olympic gold medalist and former world champion in the 800m, Caster Semenya, who was ruled ineligible to compete while appealing the decision brought down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on May 1.

(Semenya is not transgender, but her DSD means she has naturally elevated levels of testosterone, exceeding the average range for women of between 0.12 and 1.79 nmol/l. In her absence, the women’s 800m in Doha was won by Halimah Nakaayi in 1:58.04, a new national record for Uganda.)

Trans women do not need to show evidence of being recognized by law as female, as long as their testosterone levels are maintained within the acceptable limit, but “should provide a signed declaration that her gender identity is female,” according to a report on the Inside the Games site. 

The Council also created a five-member Expert Panel for the Eligibility Regulations of Transgender Athletes, comprised of endocrinologists and other medical experts from around the world. The panel will sit for a four-year term.

(10/16/2019) Views: 4,427 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Caster Semenya has signed with South African soccer team Janine van Wyk Football Club

Caster Semenya, the reigning world and Olympic 800m champion, has signed with South African soccer team Janine van Wyk Football Club (JVW FC). The announcement follows the Swiss Court ruling that Semenya won’t be allowed to compete at the upcoming World Championships in the 800m.

The Swiss Court initially struck down the IAAF’s May 2019 ruling that forced Semenya to either suppress her testosterone levels or switch events from the 800m.  This initially allowed Semenya to continue competing, but the Swiss Court overturned its own decision this several weeks ago, once again barring Semenya from competition.

Semenya told the New York Times, “I am very disappointed to be kept from defending my hard-earned title, but this will not deter me from continuing my fight for the human rights of all the female athletes concerned.”

According to the IAAF ruling, Semenya is not allowed to compete at any event from the 400m through the mile, considering she has adamantly refused to lower her testosterone to 5 nmol/L, the maximum allowed under the IAAF’s testosterone rule.

Semenya has been fighting for her place on the 800m start line for nearly a decade now. She wrote on social media on Friday that she’s excited for a new journey, which suggests that she could be leaving the track world behind.

According to Sowetan Live, Semenya won’t be able to compete for the soccer team in the 2019 season as the transfer window is closed, but that she will continue to train with the team in preparation for next year. The track world champion started training last Tuesday.

(09/06/2019) Views: 936 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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A Swiss court overturned its own ruling, disqualifying Caster Semenya from the upcoming World Championship 800m in Doha

Caster Semenya is unable to defend her World Championship title this fall in the 800m. A June ruling indicated that Semenya would be able to compete in her primary event, but that ruling has been overturned by the Swiss Court.

Semenya’s initial appeal, which was considered by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, was filed based on “fundamental human rights,” claiming CAS’s decision “condones the IAAF’s requirements for unnecessary and unwanted hormonal drug interventions on female athletes despite the lack of any medical protocols and the uncertain health consequences of such interventions.”

Semenya went on to proclaim that “The IAAF will not drug me or stop me from being who I am.”

The Swiss Court initially struck down the IAAF’s ruling and allowed Semenya to continue competing, but overturned its own decision this week. Semenya told the New York Times, “I am very disappointed to be kept from defending my hard-earned title, but this will not deter me from continuing my fight for the human rights of all the female athletes concerned.”

According to the IAAF ruling, Semenya is not allowed to compete at any event from the 400m through the mile, considering she has adamantly refused to lower her testosterone to 5 nmol/L, the maximum allowed under the IAAF’s testosterone rule. There’s a chance Semenya could choose to attempt to qualify for Worlds at another event, but she will not be in the 800m field.

Semenya has run the fastest 800m in the world this season (1:54.98) and was looking like a lock for the World Championship title.

(07/30/2019) Views: 1,292 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha

IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha

The seventeenth edition of the IAAF World Championships is scheduled to be held between 27 September and 6 October 2019 in Doha, Qatar at the renovated multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium. Doha overcame bids from Eugene, USA, and Barcelona, Spain to be granted the rights to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics. Having hosted the IAAF Diamond League, formerly...

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Nike has launched a video starring Caster Semenya that calls for acceptance and echoes its recent films featuring Raheem Sterling, Colin Kaepernick and Serena Williams

The Olympic 800m champion recently won a legal battle with the athletics governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, after it had banned the middle-distance runner unless she took hormone-suppressant medicine to control her testosterone levels.

Semenya has naturally elevated testosterone levels as a result of a condition known as hyperandrogenism and had lost a landmark legal case against the IAAF, something that she successfully appealed in the Swiss supreme court.

Nike's film promotes Athlete in Progress – a women's apparel collection by Off-White designer Virgil Abloh that debuted in September 2018 in Paris.

It follows Semenya running through the streets of Johannesburg in her native South Africa, talking about inspiring progress on and off the track. The theme centres on respect, love and acceptance.

Semenya closes with the powerful words: "I have learned to appreciate people for who they are, but first it comes with me appreciating myself and loving myself."

She has accused the IAAF of using her body "as a human guinea pig experiment" and has received support from the South African government and several global sports bodies, including the International Working Group on Women & Sport, WomenSport International and International Association of Physical Education for Girls and Women.

However, not everyone has stuck in her corner. British distance-running legend Paula Radcliffe has been a vocal supporter of the IAAF's position, while noting it was unfair on Semenya.

(07/03/2019) Views: 1,511 ⚡AMP
by Arvind Hickman
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South African Caster Semenya ran the fastest 800m ever run on American soil at the Prefontaine Classic at Stanford clocking 1:55.7

Caster Semenya was almost four seconds ahead of Americans Ajee Wilson and Raevyn Rogers, who crossed the line in season’s best times of 1:58.36 and 1:58.65. This was Caster’s 31st straight victory over this distance clocking 1:55.7 and the fastest time ever on US soil.  

Semenya continues to race well despite the controversy surrounding the IAAF’s efforts to prevent her from racing without taking medication to lower her naturally-high testosterone, something she has consistently said she will not do.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal ruled that she must be allowed to race while it is considering her appeal of the IAAF’s testosterone rule, upheld in a May 1 ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

In other results, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands won the women’s 3,000m in a new European record of 8:18.49, in a race that also featured Konstanze Klosterhalfen (who finished second with a new PB of 8:20.07), Genzebe Dibaba (fourth, with a new PB of 8:21.29) and World Cross Country champion Hellen Obiri(who finished sixth).

Also on Sunday, Canada’s Mo Ahmed set a new personal best of 8:15.76 in the 2-mile event, good enough for fourth place. Justyn Knight finished ninth, in 8:19.75. The race was won by World Cross Country champion Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda in a world-leading time of 8:07.54. Ahmed broke his own Canadian 5,000m record at the Oslo Diamond League last month.

(07/02/2019) Views: 1,417 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Prefontaine Classic

Prefontaine Classic

The Pre Classic, part of the Diamond League series of international meets featuring Olympic-level athletes, is scheduled to be held at the new Hayward Field in Eugene. The Prefontaine Classicis the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite Wanda Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has...

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Your guide to this year's Prefontaine Classic

The Prefontaine Classic relocated, temporarily, and it brought the best fields of the Diamond League season with it to Stanford, California on Sunday June 30.

That includes the world’s fastest man and woman this year (Christian Coleman and Elaine Thompson), the athlete who has made the most worldwide headlines this season (Caster Semenya) and a bevy of other reigning Olympic and world champions.

Notably, Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia and Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon will compete for the first time since 2017. World 100m champions Justin Gatlin and Tori Bowie are in their first Diamond League meets in more than one year. It’s the first Diamond League in two years for 2008 Olympic 400m champ LaShawn Merritt. It’s also the first race of 2019 for Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz.

NBC and NBC Sports Gold air live coverage Sunday from 1-3 p.m. Pacific.

The Pre Classic has been held annually since 1975 in Eugene, Ore. But Hayward Field’s reconstruction ahead of the 2020 Olympic Trials forced a move to Cobb Track and Angell Field at Stanford.

Here are the Pre Classic entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Pacific):

Here are 10 events to watch:

Men’s Pole Vault — 12:43 p.m.The Big Three of the event meet for the first time this season: 2012 Olympic champion and world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie of France, 2017 World champion Sam Kendricksand 2018 and 2019 world leader Mondo Duplantis of Sweden, who just turned pro after his freshman year at LSU. Lavillenie has competed just once this season due to injury. Duplantis was beaten at NCAAs by Chris Nilsen (also in the Pre field). But Kendricks has been hot, winning the first three Diamond League pole vaults this season (though Lavillenie and Nilsen weren’t in any of those fields and Duplantis just one).

Women’s High Jump — 1:08 p.m.U.S. champion Vashti Cunningham takes another crack at Russian Mariya Lasitskene, who has just two losses in the last three years. Cunningham is 0-7 versus Lasitskene but has this spring already bettered her top clearance of 2018. Lasitskene, though, appears in top form after taking three attempts at a world record 2.10 meters in Ostrava last week.

Women’s 3000m Steeplechase — 1:11 p.m.Six of the eight fastest in history, headlined by world gold and silver medalists Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs. The only time either Coburn or Frerichs won a steeple that included any of the four fastest Kenyans in history was at those 2017 Worlds. Another chance Sunday.

Women’s 100m — 1:27 p.m.NCAA champion Sha’Carri Richardson would have been the favorite here in her pro debut if not for what happened Friday. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a two-time Olympic 100m champion, clocked her fastest time in six years (10.73 seconds) to become the fastest mom in history and No. 2 in the world this year behind Rio gold medalist Elaine Thompson. Also watch reigning world champ Tori Bowie, who is coming back from a quad tear and coaching change.

Women’s 800m — 1:47 p.m.Caster Semenya races her trademark event for the first time since a Swiss Supreme Court ruled her eligible while it deliberates on her appeal against a Court of Arbitration for Sport decision to uphold an IAAF rule capping testosterone in women’s events from the 400m through the mile. The Swiss court ruling applies only to Semenya and not the other Rio Olympic medalists, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui, who are also affected by the new rule. So Semenya’s closest threat at Pre is American record holder Ajeé Wilson, but Semenya has won 30 straight 800m races dating to 2015.

Men’s Shot Put — 2:01 p.m.Olympic champion Ryan Crouser had a sterling record at Hayward Field, taking NCAA, Pre Classic and Olympic Trials titles. He’s pretty strong in California, too, recording his personal best (22.74 meters) in Long Beach in April. Nobody has been within a foot and a half of that this season, but the last two world champions (New Zealand’s Tom Walsh and American Joe Kovacs) will try to snap his undefeated 2019 on Sunday.

Men’s 400m — 2:19 p.m.Lost some sizzle with the withdrawal of 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James, who has missed time with Graves’ disease and, more recently, his mother’s death. Instead, the three fastest Americans of the last decade line up — 2018 and 2019 world leader Michael Norman (43.45 from April 20), 2017 world No. 2 Fred Kerley and 2008 Olympic championLaShawn Merritt.

Women’s 200m — 2:25 p.m.Strongest sprint field of the meet: 2016 Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, 2015 and 2017 World champion Dafne Schippers and 2018 world leader Dina Asher-Smith. Should produce the fastest time in the world this year, which is currently 22.16, and the favorite for world champs.

Men’s 100m — 2:39 p.m.Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman go head-to-head for the first time since the 2017 Worlds, where Gatlin took gold, Usain Bolt silver and Coleman bronze. Coleman is the world’s fastest man this Olympic cycle (9.79) and this year (9.85). Gatlin, 37, hasn’t broken 10 seconds since beating Bolt but has a bye to defend his title in Doha in September.

Men’s Mile — 2:51 p.m.Olympic 1500m champ Matthew Centrowitz races on the track for the first time since July 22, eyeing his first win in the Pre mile in his sixth try. The foes are formidable, including the top two milers since Rio — Kenyans Timothy Cheruiyot and Elijah Manangoi — Norwegian brothers Filip and Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha, who on March 3 broke the 22-year-old indoor mile world record. Nobody has been within four seconds of the outdoor mile word record (Hicham El Guerrouj‘s 3:43.13 in 1999) since 2007.

(06/29/2019) Views: 1,589 ⚡AMP
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Prefontaine Classic

Prefontaine Classic

The Pre Classic, part of the Diamond League series of international meets featuring Olympic-level athletes, is scheduled to be held at the new Hayward Field in Eugene. The Prefontaine Classicis the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite Wanda Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has...

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South Africa’s Caster Semenya has switched from the 3000m to 800m event at the Prefontaine Classic

“Caster’s representation requested that she be moved from the 3,000 metres (where she was originally entered) to the 800 metres, and we are happy to comply,” Prefontaine Classic meet director Tom Jordan said in a statement.

The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland last week rejected the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) bid to impose the female eligibility regulations immediately on Semenya.

The ruling meant Semenya was allowed to compete without taking any testosterone-lowering medication. The 28-year-old, however, was still not allowed to race in the women’s 800m event in Rabat on June 16 initially.

The double Olympic 800m champion was given permission to run the 800m too late for her to adequately prepare and make travel arrangements - meaning she could not take up the invite to compete.

(06/19/2019) Views: 1,511 ⚡AMP
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Prefontaine Classic

Prefontaine Classic

The Pre Classic, part of the Diamond League series of international meets featuring Olympic-level athletes, is scheduled to be held at the new Hayward Field in Eugene. The Prefontaine Classicis the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite Wanda Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has...

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Impressive International field will be racing at the Prefontaine Classic at Stanford

World 5000m and cross-country champion Hellen Obiri will be making her sixth appearance at the Prefontaine Classic. She set meeting records at 1500m in 2013 and 2014, then won the 5000m in 2016.

The Kenyan, who won the 5000m IAAF Diamond League title in 2018, is undefeated this year and won the 3000m at the opening leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Doha earlier this month in a world-leading 8:25.60.

Multiple world record-holder and five-time world indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba has won all three of her past Pre Classic appearances and her 14:19.76 victory in 2015 is the fastest 5000m ever run in the US.

Sifan Hassan won the 1500m Diamond League trophy in 2015 and followed it with world indoor gold over the same distance in 2016. The Dutch athlete is one of the most versatile runners in history, boasting an 800m PB of 1:56.81 and a half marathon PB of 1:05:15. She also holds the European 5000m record and the world 5km record.

Olympic 10,000m champion and world record-holder Almaz Ayana will be competing in the US for the first time. The Ethiopian won the 2015 world 5000m title, 2016 5000m Diamond Trophy and 2017 world 10,000m title, but missed all of last year with a knee injury.

Obiri, Dibaba, Ayana and Hassan are among the seven fastest women of all time at 5000m, but this will be the first time they have all raced one another at any distance.

The addition of world and Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya adds further interest. Although she has contested the distance in low-key domestic races in South Africa, this will be her first international 3000m race.

Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey and Senbere Teferi, ranked eighth and ninth respectively on the world 5000m all-time list, are also in the field. Gidey is a two-time world U20 cross-country champion, while Teferi earned world silver medals at 5000m and cross country in 2015.

The field also includes two-time Ethiopian champion Fantu Worku, versatile Kenyan Caroline Chepkoech Kipkurui, world U20 cross-country champion Beatrice Chebet, 2017 world cross-country bronze medallist Lilian Kasait Rengeruk, double European indoor silver medallist Konstanze Klosterhalfen, 2016 European 5000m and 10,000m champion Yasmin Can, European 1500m bronze medallist Laura Weightman, six-time NCAA champion Karissa Schweizer and USA’s Rachel Schneider.

(05/22/2019) Views: 1,509 ⚡AMP
by IAAF
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Prefontaine Classic

Prefontaine Classic

The Pre Classic, part of the Diamond League series of international meets featuring Olympic-level athletes, is scheduled to be held at the new Hayward Field in Eugene. The Prefontaine Classicis the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite Wanda Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has...

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Caster Semenya is going to run the 3000m at the Pre Classic, a distance she can race without reducing her testosterone levels

South African's Caster Semenya is scheduled to compete in the 3,000m at the Diamond League's Prefontaine Classic in Stanford, California on June 30.  This is a distance she can race without reducing her testosterone levels, however it is not really her distance at least not at this point.

Semenya, who has won two Olympic gold medals over 800m, has made it very clear that she will not take medication to lower her testosterone levels to comply with the new IAAF rules.

This race will be her first since the new rules went into effect.

Under the new regulations, female athletes with high natural levels of testosterone wishing to compete in events from 400m to a mile must medically limit that level to under 5 nmol/L, double the normal female range of below 2 nmol/L.

Barring an appeal, Semenya can no longer compete in her specialist event after she lost her appeal against the new rules, stating that the regulations were necessary to ensure fair competition.

Semenya will be part of a world class field at the Prefontaine Classic that includes world 5,000-metres champion Hellen Obiri, 2016 world indoor 1,500-metres champion Sifan Hassan, and 2018 world indoor 1,500 and 3,000-metres champion Genzebe Dibaba.

“It was a request from Caster Semenya’s agent asking if she could run a 3,000,” meet director Tom Jordan told Reuters. “Of course we said yes.”

Semenya became South African national champion over 5,000m in April, but her time is way off the leading runners in the world over that distance.

Semenya has a personal best of 9:36 for 3,000m, the slowest in the field.  Dibaba is the quickest in the field with a best of 8:16. 

The South African’s last race over 800 meters was in the Diamond League in Doha on May 3, when she cruised to victory in 1:54.98, nearly three seconds ahead of Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba.

“I’m a crazy athlete, 800 meters is my calling, I believe in it, and that’s what I want to do,” she said after winning in Doha.

“I will switch races when I want to — no man can tell me what to do. I’m here for a purpose, if I want to switch events I switch them, but if someone wants me to switch them, that’s their own problem, not mine."

The Prefontaine Classic is being staged in Stanford, California this year while a new stadium is built in Eugene, Oregon for the 2021 world championships.

(05/21/2019) Views: 1,337 ⚡AMP
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Prefontaine Classic

Prefontaine Classic

The Pre Classic, part of the Diamond League series of international meets featuring Olympic-level athletes, is scheduled to be held at the new Hayward Field in Eugene. The Prefontaine Classicis the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite Wanda Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has...

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Allyson Felix, the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history, spoke out in support of Caster Semenya

Felix reacted to the IAAF rule change capping testosterone levels for athletes in women’s events between the 400m and mile, conversing with Julie Foudy on the Olympic soccer champion’s podcast, Laughter Permitted.

Semenya, the two-time Olympic 800m champion on a three-year win streak, has said she is being specifically targeted by the rule change.

The South African challenged the new rules but lost a decision, nearly a decade since word leaked that track officials mandated she undergo gender-verification testing after she won the world 800m title by 2.45 seconds at age 18.

“I’ve been disappointed from the beginning, of just how everything has been handled,” Felix said of her fellow Nike-sponsored runner. “I just think that it’s not OK. I stand with Caster. She’s a friend of mine. I just think that no one should have to go through what she’s had to go through. Not just in this moment. From the beginning of when she started competing. So I think it’s a very, very complex issue. … But I just think that it has been mishandled from the start.”

Barring another appeal, and one that is successful, it’s unknown if or when Semenya will be able to compete in her best races again.

Felix is glad that she’s not making the decision in a case that has been fiercely debated for years.

“There has to be something, or there should have already been something in place when you’re dealing with athletes with differences or intersex athletes. I don’t know. It’s challenging,” she said. “We’re talking about human beings. This is a person. To have all of this play out the way that it has, it makes me cringe to think of her dealing with this. This has been for 10 years now. I just feel like there is a better way.”

Felix also reiterated that she’s going for what would be her fifth Olympics in 2020 — “this last one and enjoy the whole ride.” Her daughter, Camryn, is now five months old after being born eight weeks premature and spending her first month in the NICU.

(05/21/2019) Views: 1,835 ⚡AMP
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Prefontaine Classic

Prefontaine Classic

The Pre Classic, part of the Diamond League series of international meets featuring Olympic-level athletes, is scheduled to be held at the new Hayward Field in Eugene. The Prefontaine Classicis the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite Wanda Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has...

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Double Olympic champion Caster Semenya, who lost her appeal over a controversial gender ruling, will not race at this month's Diamond League meeting in Stockholm

The South African, 28, who won gold in Rio in 2016 and London four years earlier will not lineup for the 800m after winning her most recent appearance over the distance in Doha on May 3.

Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba and Kenya's Margaret Nyairera Wambui, who are among the star female athletes affected by the International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) ruling this month and who completed the Olympic podium in Brazil will also not race in Sweden.

Wambui said on Thursday her future was uncertain due to the IAAF's decision.

Semenya's case has provoked a furious debate across sport around the globe about gender and "hyperandrogenic" athletes, those with "differences of sexual development" (DSD).

The decision on May 1 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland, means female athletes with elevated testosterone will have to take suppressive treatment if they wish to compete as women in certain events.

South Africa's government on Monday said it would lodge an appeal against the IAAF's decision which came into operation on May 8 and applies to distances from 400m to a mile, and includes the heptathlon.

"The onus is on the athletes to ensure they do not agree to attend track meets or put themselves forward for events they are not eligible to compete in," Stockholm meet director Jan Kowalski said.

"If they do compete in events for which they are not eligible, then - consistent with the approach taken in any case of athlete ineligibility - their results may be disqualified and any medals, points, or prize money forfeited," Kowalski added.

That leaves world bronze medallist Ajee Wilson from the US as the highest ranked runner in the women's 800m in Stockholm.

(05/17/2019) Views: 1,123 ⚡AMP
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Caster Semenya says she won't take hormone-reducing medication

Caster Semenya was defiant in every way at what could be her last 800-meter race.

With her raised fist at the start. With her unstoppable victory. With her reply Friday to the big question of whether she will submit to new testosterone regulations in track and field and take hormone-reducing medication.

"Hell, no," the Olympic champion from South Africa said.

Semenya responded to her defeat in a landmark court case against track and field's governing body two days earlier with a resounding win in a place where she has done nothing but win the past four years -- over two laps of the track.

She won the 800 meters at the opening Diamond League meeting of the season in Doha, Qatar, with a meet record of 1 minute, 54.98 seconds. It was her fourth-fastest time ever. The only person ahead of her at any time during the race was the pacemaker.

Semenya's nearest challenger, Olympic silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba, was nearly three seconds and about 20 meters behind her -- barely in the picture. Ajee Wilson of the United States was third.

It was Semenya's first 800-meter race this year and first since she lost her case against the IAAF this week.

"Actions speak louder than words," Semenya told the BBC. "When you are a great champion, you always deliver."

Friday's win was her 30th straight in the 800, continuing a run that started in late 2015. But Semenya's four-year dominance over two laps might be at an end.

It would be an end brought not by another competitor but by new regulations set to come into effect Wednesday. They require the South African star and other female athletes with high levels of natural testosterone to medically lower them to be eligible to compete in events ranging from the 400 meters to the mile.

Semenya failed to overturn those rules in her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Now her career appears to be at a crossroad: Does she take medication to lower her testosterone? The medication probably would inhibit her athletic performance and could blunt her dominance. Or does she switch events and run in long-distance races not affected by the regulations?

She was emphatic when she told reporters after Friday's race that she wouldn't take the medication.

"That's an illegal method," she said.

Semenya didn't give a clear idea of what she would do next. She said she wouldn't move up to the 5,000 meters, and she wouldn't retire.

"God has decided my career. God will end my career," she said in the BBC interview. "No man, or any other human, can stop me from running. How am I going to retire when I'm 28? I still feel young, energetic. I still have 10 years or more in athletics.

(05/07/2019) Views: 924 ⚡AMP
by ESPN News Services
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Caster Semenya loses her battle with the IAAF but is considering an appeal

South African 800m Olympic champion Caster Semenya is considering an appeal after losing her landmark legal case against athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, in a decision that could end her career as an elite athlete.

The ruling by the court of arbitration for Sport means that Semenya, who has not been beaten over 800m since 2015, will have to take medication to significantly reduce her testosterone if she wants to run internationally at events between 400m and a mile.

The sports scientist Ross Tucker, who was part of Semenya’s team of experts at Cas, believes it will mean the South African could run the 800m in around seven seconds slower – turning her from a world-beater into an also-ran at that event. However the indications are that she may decide to step up to the 5,000m, where the IAAF’s new rules regarding athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) do not apply.

The surprise verdict was announced by the court of arbitration for sport on Wednesday after three arbitrators had spent more than two months deliberating over the complex and highly contentious case.

Announcing its ruling, Cas agreed that the IAAF’s policy was “discriminatory” to athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) such as Semenya. However two of three arbitrators accepted the IAAF’s argument that high testosterone in female athletes confers significant advantages in size, strength and power from puberty onwards, and said the policy was “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” to ensure fair competition in women’s sport.

It means that all DSD athletes, who are usually born with internal testes, will have to reduce their testosterone to below five nmol/L for at least six months if they want to compete internationally all distances from 400m to a mile. The IAAF, which welcomed the news, said its policy would come into place on 8 May.

Semenya was expected to be a cornerstone of the SA athletics team that will compete at the IAAF’s world championships in Doha from September 28 to October 6‚ and the Tokyo Olympics next year from July 24 to August 9.

(05/01/2019) Views: 1,398 ⚡AMP
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IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha

IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha

The seventeenth edition of the IAAF World Championships is scheduled to be held between 27 September and 6 October 2019 in Doha, Qatar at the renovated multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium. Doha overcame bids from Eugene, USA, and Barcelona, Spain to be granted the rights to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics. Having hosted the IAAF Diamond League, formerly...

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Olympic silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba also has the hyperandrogenism condition that gives her high levels of naturally occurring testosterone

The woman who finished second behind Caster Semenya at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics says she also has a condition that gives her high levels of naturally occurring testosterone and would be affected if the IAAF implements its hormone policy.

Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, an Olympic and world championships silver medallist in the 800 metres, said in an interview with the Olympic Channel that she has hyperandrogenism.

She says "I didn't choose to be born like this. What am I? I'm created by god. So, if someone has more questions about it, maybe they can ask god. I love myself. I will still be Francine. I will not change."

(04/17/2019) Views: 1,649 ⚡AMP
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The Court of Arbitration for Sport has now said a decision in the case of Semenya will now be announced at the end of April

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has decided to put off a decision in the case of South African 800m runner Caster Semenya until the end of April, with no date specified.

The CAS had originally said its decision would be made public on March 26, six months before the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, which start on September 28.

The IAAF’s new rules on male hormone levels in female athletes were to take effect on November 1, 2019, but are suspended pending the CAS’s decision. No reason was given for the delay.

The case involves the IAAF’s new rules regarding levels of male hormones in female athletes born with differences of sexual development (DSD) competing at distances shorter than the mile.

If the CAS rules in favor of the IAAF, athletes like Semenya would either have to take medication to bring her natural hormone levels down, move up in distance, or compete against men.

(03/22/2019) Views: 1,057 ⚡AMP
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University of Colorado researchers say, testosterone levels for female athletes are based On Flawed Science

New regulations requiring certain female athletes to medically lower their testosterone levels in order to compete internationally are based on “fatally flawed” data, according to new research led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The paper, published recently in the Asser International Sports Law Journal, comes just as South African Olympian Caster Semenya is set to challenge the controversial new rules in an international court in Switzerland.

The authors have called for a retraction of the original research and asked the International Association of Athletics Federations – the global governing body for track and field – to reconsider the rule change.

“In almost any other setting of science, errors of this magnitude would lead to a paper being retracted,” said lead author Roger Pielke Jr., director of the Center for Sports Governance at CU Boulder.

“And it certainly would not be the basis for broad regulations that have a profound impact on people’s lives.”

In April 2018, the IAAF announced new regulations requiring certain female athletes with naturally high testosterone levels to take testosterone-lowering hormones if they want to continue to compete in the women’s category for the 400-meter, the 400-meter hurdles, the 800-meter, the 1,500-meter and the mile.

The rule, which applies to IAAF-sanctioned international competitions, requires that they maintain serum testosterone levels below 5 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) for at least six months prior to competition.  Most females have testosterone levels ranging from 1.12 to 1.79 nmol/L while the normal adult male range is 7.7 – 29.4 nmol/L. About seven in every 1,000 elite female athletes have high testosterone levels, according to IAAF.

The association had attempted to put forth similar regulations in 2011 , but that rule was thrown out when the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) – the highest court for international sport – concluded in 2015 that there was a lack of evidence linking high testosterone to “a real competitive advantage” in women.

(02/23/2019) Views: 1,171 ⚡AMP
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IAAF battle with Olympic 800m Champion Caster Semenya saying she should be classified as a biological male

South Africa's world and Olympic 800 metres champion Caster Semenya is challenging a proposed new rule brought in by the IAAF which, if upheld, would force her to either take medication to reduce her testosterone levels or compete against men.

Semenya has called the rule - which only affects athletes competing in events between 400m and the mile - unfair, and the case is due to be heard at the CAS in Lausanne next week.

The British newspaper The Times had claimed that when the case begins, the IAAF will argue Semenya is a biological male.

The newspaper stated lawyers for the IAAF are preparing to argue that the 28-year-old two-time Olympic champion and other athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) should be treated as female but are in fact biologically male.

The lawyers will argue therefore, the paper claimed, that such athletes should take testosterone suppressants before competing in middle distance events in order to level the playing field.

In response the IAAF released a statement saying it is not classifying any athletes with Semenya's condition as male.

"To the contrary, we accept their legal sex without question, and permit them to compete in the female category," they said.

They did stick to their original position, though, saying that to allow DSD athletes to compete against women with normal testosterone levels unchecked would be unfair.

"If a DSD athlete has testes and male levels of testosterone, they get the same increases in bone and muscle size and strength and increases in haemoglobin that a male gets when they go through puberty, which is what gives men such a performance advantage over women," they said.

"Therefore, to preserve fair competition in the female category, it is necessary to require DSD athletes to reduce their testosterone down to female levels before they compete at international level."

Previously, the IAAF claimed athletes such as Semenya competing against women is comparable to adults competing against children, so significant is the perceived advantage. 

Semenya's lawyers have also responded to the piece in The Times, saying the South African is "unquestionably a woman".

They also responded to quotes attributed to the IAAF's lawyer Jonathan Taylor, who reportedly said that if the CAS rules in Semenya's favour, "then DSD and transgender athletes will dominate the podiums and prize money in sport", saying her situation cannot be compared to that of transgender athletes. 

"There are different regulations for DSD athletes and transgender athletes," they say in a statement.

"Ms Semenya respects the rights and interests of transgender athletes around the world.

"Her case however, is about the rights of women such as Ms Semenya, who are born as women, reared and socialised as women, who have been legally recognised as women for their entire lives, who have always competed in athletics as women and who should be permitted to compete in the female category without discrimination."

The proposed rule has caused significant controversy since it was first put forward by the IAAF and has been criticised by human rights experts from the United Nations who called it "unjustifiable". 

(02/14/2019) Views: 13,126 ⚡AMP
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For the third year in a row, Caster Semenya went undefeated in the 800 meters

For the third year in a row, Caster Semenya went undefeated in the 800 meters. And though there was no global championship to cap it off, this was her most impressive year yet as she broke 1:56 five times and broke 1:55 three times (after never having broken 1:55 prior to 2018).

Only one woman in history had ever accomplished either of those feats: Pamela Jelimo, who broke 1:55 four times and 1:56 eight times during the 2008 season.

One of the reasons Semenya ran faster in 2018 was that, more so than in previous years, she chose to cut loose and chase times rather than solely concentrating on wins.

At the Diamond Leagues in Paris and Monaco and the Continental Cup in Ostrava, Semenya — running without a pacemaker — went out hard from the gun and was rewarded with the three fastest times of her life, including a sparkling 1:54.25 PR in Paris that ranks her fourth on the all-time list.

For much of her career, Semenya from South Africa has faced criticism for “sandbagging” — she made winning look so easy that some thought she was intentionally holding back. Maybe a (very fast) pacemaker could have helped her this year, but the Semenya we saw in 2018 was one that pushed herself to her limits.

The question now becomes: have we seen the last of this version of Caster Semenya? The IAAF announced that it will be implementing new eligibility regulations for the female classification that include testosterone limits for women in events between 400 and the mile (the events that Semenya just so happens to run).

Semenya challenged the ruling, with a decision due by the Court of Arbitration for Sport due in March. That decision will determine the future of the women’s 800, because it has become clear over the last three years that, as things stand, no non intersex or transgender woman is beating Caster Semenya.

(12/20/2018) Views: 1,040 ⚡AMP
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Shelby Houlihan surges past three contenders to win the 1500m while Semenya placed sixth

Shelby Houlihan of the US ran a new PR and set a meet record in the 1,500m at Lausanne Diamond League today, with the UK’s Laura Muir finishing second and the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan third. Houlihan clocked 3:57.54. Caster Semenya of South Africa was well back, finishing sixth, with a time of 4:00.44. It was the third straight 1,500m win for Houlihan, an Olympic 5,000m runner who is having an incredible outdoor season in 2018, winning the 1,500m at both the Prefontaine Classic on May 26 and the USATF Outdoor Championships on June 23. Semenya holds South Africa’s national record in the event (3:59.92, set at Doha Diamond League in May). She won the 800m and set a new PB, without benefit of a pace rabbit, at Paris Diamond League on June 30 (07/05/2018) Views: 1,732 ⚡AMP
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