‘Semenya declines Rabat 800m race’

By AFP
Published: June 15, 2019
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DECISION REVERSAL: Organisers of the Morocco event had initially refused to allow the South African to take part but on Friday they "confirmed her invitation". PHOTO: AFP

DECISION REVERSAL: Organisers of the Morocco event had initially refused to allow the South African to take part but on Friday they "confirmed her invitation". PHOTO: AFP

PARIS: Two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya will not run her specialist 800m distance at Rabat on Sunday despite having received an invitation to do so, in the latest twist of her bitter court battle over gender rules.

“She received an invitation but is unable to organise her schedule to come to Rabat,” organiser Alain Blondel told AFP.

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Semenya was cleared to take part in the Diamond League meeting after Switzerland’s top court rejected an IAAF request to re-impose rules obliging her to lower her testosterone before competing in certain events.

Organisers of the Morocco event had initially refused to allow the South African to take part but on Friday they “confirmed her invitation”.

“After checking the situation of Caster Semenya in the light of the decisions of the Swiss Federal Court, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the head of the international athletics meeting in Rabat, Alain Blondel, is happy to confirm the invitation,” a statement on the event’s official site said.

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The Swiss federal court issued their order on Wednesday, explaining “this means that Caster remains permitted to compete without restriction in the female category at this time”.

The IAAF had earlier this month opposed a ruling by the court temporarily suspending the federation’s rules following an appeal by Semenya who won the women’s 800 metres at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

The athlete was contesting a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which previously found the rules were “discriminatory” but “necessary” to ensure fairness in women’s athletics.

The rules require women with higher than normal male hormone levels, a condition known as hyperandrogenism, to artificially lower the amount of testosterone in their bodies if they are to compete in races over distances of 400m to the mile.

“No woman should be subjected to these rules,” Semenya said in a statement Thursday, adding she had “thought hard about not running the 800m in solidarity unless all women can run free. But I will run now to show the IAAF that they cannot drug us”.

The athlete, who underwent a gender test shortly before she won gold at the 2009 Berlin world championships, also dismissed the IAAF’s claim that it is committed to the full participation of women in sport.

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