Middle-distance runner trains with women’s football club in South Africa while her athletics career sits in limbo due to new IAAF rules

Caster Semenya looks poised to start a new sporting career as a footballer if she fails to overturn rules barring her from running in women’s races.

The two-time Olympic 800m champion is appealing a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to uphold the IAAF’s controversial new rules relating to testosterone limits in female athletics events such as her specialist 800m distance.

Under the new rules Semenya – and other female athletes with DSD (differences of sexual development) – need to reduce their natural testosterone level in order to take part in certain women’s events in international competition.

She refuses to comply by the rules and cannot defend her title at the IAAF World Championships, which starts this month in Doha, but has started training with Gauteng-based JVW women’s football club and says she is looking forward to “a new journey”.

The club is owned by South African women’s captain Janine van Wyk. Semenya, 28, used to play footballer in her youth and comparisons are not surprisingly being made with Usain Bolt’s move into football when his career ended.

“I am grateful for this opportunity and I appreciate the love and support I already get from the team,” said Semenya. “I am looking forward to this new journey, and hopefully I can contribute as much as I can to the club.”

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