In the absence of South Africa’s Caster Semenya (pictured), the best African hope for the 800m race at the World Athletics Championships in Doha is Kenyan Eunice Sum. Photo: Kamran Jebreili/AP Photo

DOHA – In the absence of South Africa’s Caster Semenya, the best African hope for the 800m race at the World Athletics Championships in Doha is Kenyan Eunice Sum.

Semenya, the 800m world and Olympic champion, will not race because of new rules governing testosterone levels in female athletes.

The South African will not be able to defend her world 800m title in Doha on Friday after a Swiss judge overruled a temporary suspension on the IAAF‘s controversial testosterone-curbing rules.

But, because experience matters in championship 800m racing, don't discount Sum, who was the 2013 world champion and bronze medallist in 2015.

The 31-year-old clocked a 1:58.99 season’s best at altitude at the Kenyan Trials, where she finished second to earn a return trip to the global championships.

Others to watch include rising stars Catriona Bisset of Australia, who broke a long-standing national record with a 1:58.78 run in London; Winnie Nanyondo, who clocked 1:58.83 in Monaco and also brought Uganda's national 1500m record into sub-4 territory with a 3:59.56 performance in Rabat; and Cuba's Rose Mary Almanza, the Pan-American Games silver medallist.

After a steady and impressive rise from the Under-20 ranks, Ajee Wilson seems to have finally come of age in the 800m, arriving in Doha as a solid gold medal threat.

Wilson won six of eight races outdoors in 2019, including the US title and Diamond League stops in Stockholm, Monaco and Birmingham before cruising to the series win in Brussels. 

African News Agency (ANA)