Her career has been thrown upside down this week, but Caster Semenya was taking it all in her stride – as usual – on Thursday.
Having seen the Court of Arbitration for Sport declare that the IAAF’s proposed regulations for female classification, with regards to athletes with differences of sex development (DSD), are discriminatory – but then two out of three panellists find that the discrimination is “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” – you wouldn’t blame Semenya if she wanted to walk away from it all.
She’s won her Olympic and world championship gold medals already in a glittering career of more than a decade, with perhaps just the 800m world record the one major goal she would want to still achieve on the track.
But the 28-year-old from Limpopo posted her own protest on her social media channels against the controversial decision of the CAS to side with the IAAF.
“My vibes are so cool. Call me Stefano dimera (a never-say-die character from the Days of Our Lives TV series) if you want to. I’m a die hard that’s a fact,” she started, before adding later in the day: “They laugh at me because I am different. I laugh at them because they’re all the same.”
In between those posts, though, was a note that suggests Semenya is considering leaving the athletics track.
“Knowing when to walk away is wisdom. Being able to is courage. Walking away with your head held high is dignity,” she said.
Well, Semenya isn’t quite giving up her fight, or career, just yet. On Friday night at 7.07pm SA time, she will take part in the opening leg of the Diamond League in Doha, Qatar, where she will line up in the 800m alongside fellow 2016 Olympic medallists Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Margaret Wambui of Kenya.
Both Niyonsaba and Wambui are rumoured to be DSD athletes as well, and with the IAAF regulations scheduled to be enforced from next Wednesday, 8 May, it may be the last time the trio line up in the 800m without having to take medication to lower their testosterone levels.
Semenya gave a possible glimpse into her future last weekend, though, when she won the 5 000m title – a distance not affected by the regulations – at the SA championships.
Ke mokgadi letapa golema goja go phala le hashumi.— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) May 2, 2019
That's me and will always be.