Caster, Francine to renew their on-track rivalry
JOHANNESBURG – Forced to perform in sideshow events due to the IAAF’s controversial female eligibility rules, Caster Semenya is expected to line up in the rarely run 2 000 metres at a meeting in Montreuil, Paris today.
The South African will be joined by fellow IAAF outcast Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi. Semenya committed to the race before the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland last week ordered the IAAF to suspend its eligibility rules while her appeal is pending.
She will be able to compete without any medical restriction unless the global athletics body can persuade the Swiss court to overturn their temporary suspension by 25 June.
The rule bans athletes with Differences of Sexual Development (DSD) from competing in events from the 400m to the mile if they do not lower their testosterone to a certain level.
The IAAF last week revealed the suspension would only apply to Semenya leaving other DSD athletes like Niyonsaba out in the cold.
Semenya and Niyonsaba have dominated the women’s 800m since they shared a podium at the Rio Olympics.
They will get to renew their rivalry and line up against each other for the first time since the IAAF regulations were implemented on 8 May. The African duo posted the two fastest times of the year in the two-lap event at the Doha Diamond League meeting just days before the rules came into effect.
Meanwhile, Semenya has been included in an extended Athletics SA preliminary squad for the World Championships in Doha between 27 September and 6 October.
The team includes world champions Luvo Manyonga and Wayde van Niekerk.
Ockert de Villiers