Caster Semenya might not be allowed to compete in her favourite events on the track anymore but she still has sporting aspirations and will take to the football pitch. Photo: @janinevanwyk5 on twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Three-time world 800m champion Caster Semenya will swop her spikes for soccer boots after the JVW Football Club announced yesterday they had signed the track sensation.

Semenya said she was looking forward to the “new journey” after her first training session with the club on Tuesday evening.

“I am grateful for this opportunity, and I appreciate the love and support I already get from the team,” Semenya said in a statement released by the club.

“I am looking forward to this new journey, and hopefully, I can contribute as much as I can to the club.”

The Gauteng-based club, owned by Banyana Banyana captain Janine van Wyk, revealed Semenya would make her official soccer debut next year.

“Although the South African running sensation will not be registered for the 2019 SAFA Sasol League due to the transfer window being closed for the 2019 season, she will continue to train with the team in preparation for a 2020 debut,” the club said in a statement.

JVW FC are currently lying in second place on the Gauteng Sasol log, two points adrift leaders Croesus Ladies. The side will be looking to qualify for the play-offs with the hopes of reaching the National League.

The switch to soccer comes less than a month before the World Athletics Championships where Semenya was supposed to defend her world 800m title. Semenya has been barred from competing in her pet event due to the implementation of the IAAF’s controversial female eligibility rules.

The regulations ban athletes with Differences in Sexual Development (DSD) from competing in events from the 400m to the mile if they refuse to lower their testosterone to a certain level.

Semenya enjoyed a brief reprieve following the super-provisional suspension of the rules pending the outcome of her appeal before the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

The Swiss court, however, overturned the provisional suspension leaving Semenya’s running career in limbo.

Van Wyk said she was delighted Semenya had joined her club.

“I am extremely elated to have such an iconic athlete join my football club,” Van Wyk said.

“I am absolutely honoured that out of all the other women’s clubs around the world, she has chosen JVW as the club where she would like to start showcasing her football skills.

I welcomed her at her first training with the team on Tuesday, and was impressed to see that she definitely has all the fundamentals.”



The Star

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