Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
19 Jun 2019
2:08 pm

Semenya enters 800m race despite looming ban

Wesley Botton

The middle-distance runner had initially been entered into the women's 3 000m race at the Prefontaine Classic in Stanford next week.

DOHA, QATAR - MAY 03: Caster Semenya of South Africa races to the line to win the Women's 800 meters during the IAAF Diamond League event at the Khalifa International Stadium on May 03, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Caster Semenya’s entry for the next leg of the Diamond League track and field series has been switched to her favoured 800m event, despite the possibility that she will be suspended from competing in the race.

The middle-distance runner had initially been entered into the women’s 3 000m race at the Prefontaine Classic in Stanford next week, as the meeting was set to be held five days after Semenya’s temporary reprieve from gender-related sanctions was set to be lifted.

“Caster’s representation requested that she be moved from the 3 000m to the 800m, and we are happy to comply,” meeting director Tom Jordan said in a statement released on social media on Wednesday.

Semenya could be banned from competing over the 800m distance at the June 30 meeting, should she lose her appeal at the Swiss Supreme Court in her ongoing battle against the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) new rules which restricted athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD).

She would likely, however, be able to revert to the 3 000m event, a distance over which she had never competed at international level, and which did not fall within the range of distances affected by the DSD regulations.

Her decision nonetheless suggested Semenya and her legal team had some confidence in the outcome of her supreme court appeal, with the IAAF having faced widespread criticism on Tuesday after the full report was released on the recent arbitration case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which Semenya had lost.

During the CAS arbitration case, Semenya’s lawyers had claimed the IAAF did not produce sufficient scientific data to prove that elevated levels of natural testosterone gave athletes an unfair advantage, and they pointed to multiple discrepancies in the findings of the IAAF study.

The IAAF, meanwhile, argued that the DSD regulations were crucial in creating categories to ensure fairness in sport.

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