21 May 2019

South Africa: Caster Semenya to Race in 3000m Event in California

Photo: Yann Caradec/Flickr
Caster Semenya at the Meeting de Paris on June 30, 2018.

South Africa's two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya will race the 3,000 meters at the Diamond League Prefontaine Classic in California on June 30, AFP reports.

The news agency says 3000m is a distance Semenya can contest without reducing her testosterone levels.

Semenya has won two Olympic golds at 800 meters, and has insisted she will not take medication to comply with new International Association of Athletics Federations rules governing testosterone levels in women athletes, AFP says.

The new rules, which went into effect on May 8, require women with higher than normal male hormone levels to artificially lower the amount of testosterone in their bodies if they are to compete in races over distances of 400m to the mile.

The Prefontaine Classic's website says Semenya will be part of the "greatest field of women distance runners ever assembled on American soil".

"The field includes an intriguing wild card in Caster Semenya, the 2-time Olympic gold medalist and 3-time world champion at 800 meters making a significant move up in distance to challenge the world's best. Five runners in the amazing field have won IAAF Diamond League trophies and major gold medals – all in the 1500 or longer except for Semenya," the website says.

AFP notes that  Semenya will be an underdog in a field 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.

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