Middle-distance runner Caster Semenya will have to wait nearly two months before she knows if she has been upgraded to a double world and Olympic champion, with legal processes delaying what is a seemingly inevitable decision.
Russian athlete Mariya Savinova, who earned 800m gold medals at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu and the 2012 Olympic Games in London, was stripped of both titles on Friday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed she had been handed a four-year ban for doping.
Semenya had finished second behind Savinova in both those championship finals.
Though it was standard process, however, for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to upgrade athletes in official results when higher-placed athletes were disqualified, Semenya’s gold medals could not be confirmed until the appeals process had been completed.
“Savinova has the right to appeal the decision,” said IAAF communications manager Yannis Nikolaou.
“The (appeal) period is 45 days, so the case is not definitively closed.”
Savinova had been found guilty as part of a widespread doping controversy which had seen the IAAF banning the Russian national athletics federation from last year’s Rio Olympics and this year’s global championships, to be held in London in August.
Semenya, who won the world two-lap title in 2009 and the Olympic crown last season, was expected to become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic titles in the 800m event, and South Africa’s first ever double world and Olympic champion in any track and field event.