CAPE TOWN – Mzansi, set your alarm clocks for 8.20am on Thursday, as that is when Caster Semenya will be back on an athletics track.
The reigning 800m Olympic champion will be racing in the 5 000m at the South African athletics championships, which will start on Thursday at the TUKS Stadium in Pretoria.
The 30-year-old middle-distance star has been prevented from participating in her favourite events – which range from the 400m to the mile – due to the World Athletics rules regarding athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD).
Semenya has been fighting her cause over the last few years, and even went all the way to the Court for Arbitration for Sport. She lost her battle in Lausanne, Switzerland, but has not given up.
The case has now been taken to the European Court for Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, France, which is empowered to investigate any violations of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Semenya is being partnered by Athletics South Africa, who have lodged their own case in support.
But while both parties wait for the case to be heard once again, Semenya has been out of action on the track. Last year, she mentioned that she wanted to tackle the 200m and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, but that plan appears to have been shelved for now.
Instead, the 5 000m could be an avenue for Semenya to reach Japan as part of Team South Africa. Her personal best time is 16 minutes, 14.43 seconds, well short of the Olympic qualifying time of 15:10.00.
But if there is anyone who has the ability to come up with a remarkable time against the odds, it is Semenya…