Five-time global 800m gold medallist switches from middle-distance to sprints as she targets Tokyo
Caster Semenya has announced that she has changed events and will now compete in the 200m as she targets the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
South Africa’s two-time Olympic and three-time world 800m gold medallist is appealing a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to uphold controversial World Athletics rules relating to testosterone limits in female athletics events, including her specialist 800m distance.
Under the rules Semenya – and other female athletes with DSD (differences of sex development) – would need to reduce their natural testosterone level in order to take part in women’s events from 400m to the mile in international competition.
Semenya refuses to do so and, as a result, she has now switched her focus to the 200m.
“… as you are all aware, I am unable to compete in the 800m and defend my title at the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year,” Semenya said in a statement released on social media on Friday.
“My dream has always been, and will continue to be, to compete at the highest level of sport, and so in order to pursue my goals and dreams, I have decided to change events and compete in the 200m.
“This decision has not been an easy one but, as always, I look forward to the challenge, and will work hard, doing all I can to qualify for Tokyo and compete to the best of my ability for South Africa.”
Semenya has an official 200m PB of 24.26 set in February but she ran an unratified 23.49 with no wind reading on Friday.
Official time 23.49 seconds (no wind reading). https://t.co/zmFpPAizIO
— Ockert de Villiers (@ockertde) March 13, 2020
The Olympic qualifying standard is 22.80.
Last September the 29-year-old started training with the Gauteng-based JVW women’s football club.