Caster Semenya has no plans of disappearing quietly
The IAAF has a Caster Semenya problem as she has no plans of disappearing quietly into a state of limbo.
The Olympic champion has vowed to continue fighting the female eligibility rules in court and, if required, circumvent them by moving up in distance or adopting the sprint events.
Semenya’s career is stuck in limbo as she awaits the outcome of her appeal of the IAAF’s regulations before the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.
Her long-time lawyer Greg Nott of Norton Rose Fulbright on Wednesday said the Swiss court might only make its ruling in the new year which would put Semenya’s title defence at the Tokyo Olympic Games in doubt.
“We are already in October, so first quarter of next year, but I wouldn’t put all my money on the regulations with Caster,” Nott said.
“I would put all my money on Caster. Don’t put your money on the award, put it on, Caster.”
Semenya’s absence at the recent IAAF World Championships in Doha hung uncomfortably over the women that lined up for the 800m final last Monday.
The defending world champion Semenya and Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba, who won silver in London 2017 had were forced to watch the race on television due to an IAAF ban.
According to the rules, Semenya and Niyonsaba are not female enough to compete in the events ranging between 400m and 1500m but could compete in distances shorter than the one-lap or further than a mile. They will have to lower their testosterone below five nanomoles per litre of blood if they want to compete in their preferred 800m event.
Nott said watching the race from afar instead of being in the thick of things must have been difficult for Semenya.
“Imagine you have the world championships taking place, you are the fastest in the world, you have proved it time and time again to the point of saying how many times do I need to prove it?” Nott said.
“Someone is negating that opportunity, and there have been rules put in place on the face of it not against you but ‘hey, it just happens to be the races you run’. Whose leg are you pulling? Now you are on the other side of the television set and see that.”
Rumours are swirling that Semenya has been working on her speed which would both benefit her sojourn into football and a possible shift down in distance on the track.
She has already flirted with the idea of moving up in distance winning her maiden 5,000m national title earlier this year clocking 16 minutes 05.97 seconds (16:05.97).@ockertde