Caster Semenya says she rejects “any suggestion” that she declined a proper invitation to take part in the Rabat Diamond League meeting on Sunday.
The Olympic and world champion wanted to run in the 800m event in Morocco after the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland suspended the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled in favour of the IAAF implementing new female classification regulations for athletes in distances from 400m to the mile.
This would’ve prevented Semenya from participating in such races unless she took medication to reduce her naturally high levels of testosterone.
The Swiss court’s suspension – which is in place until Semenya’s appeal is decided upon – meant that Semenya and other affected athletes could compete in any race.
But in a statement on Saturday night, her legal team stated that the athletes’ liaison for the Moroccan Athletics Federation, Alain Blondel, was to blame for the South African star’s absence from the Rabat Diamond League meeting.
“Different from what the Athletes’ Liaison for the Moroccan Athletics Federation, Alain Blondel, has suggested, Caster Semenya did not decline an invitation to run the 800m in Rabat. The Federation made it impossible for her to participate,” the statement read.
“On June 7, 2019, Caster accepted an invitation from the Federation to run in Rabat on June 16. She made the necessary arrangements and was booked to fly from Paris to Rabat on June 12 (after running in a 2 000m race in France).
“On June 11, Alain Blondel suddenly informed Caster’s agent that the President of the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation did not want Caster to run. Frustrated by this unjustified and belated rejection, Caster had no choice but to return to South Africa.”
Whether it’s as a team, with our communities, or anyone who celebrates our victory as their own — progress only comes if we get there [email protected]@NIKERunning,https://t.co/WnYas6VfA3 , #BeTrue #UntilWeAllWin https://t.co/XSQWlvO4mq pic.twitter.com/mYDVI1oUA4— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) June 13, 2019
Semenya’s lawyers added that they requested reasons on Thursday (June 13) for her being denied an opportunity to run in the 800m in Rabat, but they did not receive a reply, despite numerous attempts via telephone.
Then things changed on the Friday, two days before the meeting.
“On June 14, the Federation changed course once again and told Caster’s agent that Caster was re-invited to run on June 16.
They keep talking, I keep winning. Isn't that beautiful...?🤞🗣— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) June 12, 2019
“At that time, the only flights to Rabat would have involved 20 hours of travel, which meant that competing in the event was not rationally possible for Caster.
“Against this background, Caster rejects any suggestion that she declined a proper invitation to run in Rabat.
“To the contrary, her inability to run in Rabat is solely due to the Moroccan Federation’s sudden and unjustified withdrawal of its initial invitation that Caster had gladly accepted.”
Semenya also took to Twitter on Saturday evening, where she again refuted the organisers’ version of events.
“How now you say I declined your invitation?”
How now you say I declined your invitation. Heeee Bathong Satan yena wa leka man hai, tlogela maaka abuti. Deal with it.— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) June 15, 2019