Caster Semenya isn't letting anything get to her at the moment as she is excelling on the track. Photo: Darren England/EPA
Caster Semenya let her feet do the talking in response to the IAAF’s latest controversial female classification rules by posting the second-fastest 400m time of her career at the SA Student Championships in Sasolburg.

The International Association of Athletics (IAAF) this past week unleashed a storm when they published the policy aimed at women who naturally produce testosterone levels above five nanomoles per litre.

The regulations are listed to athletes that compete in events ranging from the 400m to the mile which coincidentally are the very events Semenya has excelled in over the last few years.

In what could be seen as a form of protest Semenya has entered for the 200m at the Student Championships today.

She has raced in the half-lap sprint only once in her senior career which was back in 2016 where she clocked a personal best of 24.35 seconds.

While she has shown incredible versatility, she has not shown the same world-class ability as in the middle-distance events.

Semenya arrived at the DP de Villiers Track in Sasolburg where she smiled and interacted with her fellow athletes before doing her run-throughs.

The three-time world 800m gold medallist seemed to go out hard in the one-lap sprint race with World Student Games gold medallist Justine Palframan remaining on her shoulder going into the final stretch.

Palframan then seemed to fade somewhat with Semenya striking an image of pure determination dipping at the line in a time of 50.48sec.

The time was 0.08s off the personal best she posted at the Brussels Diamond League meeting in September 2016 which is still 0.35 short of Heide Quinn’s national record.

Palframan crossed the line in second place clocking her third fastest time of 51.58 with Ariane Nel bagging the bronze medal in 54.16.

After the race, Semenya congratulated fellow competitors in her customary way before she acknowledged the spectators and quietly left the stadium.

While Semenya may be racing the sprint events to prove a point, she has shown a greater affinity for the middle and distance events.

After racing to her 800-1500m golden double at the recent Commonwealth Games in Australia, Semenya said she would go up in distance.

“If I still have the speed in the 800m I will continue but if not then I will go farther, you still have the 5000m and the 1000m,” Semenya said at the time.

“I believe I can still do better in the future. I am still only 27 and when I do my long runs I feel I can feed into the distance running.”

Success in distance running would mean the IAAF regulation would effectively have no influence on Semenya’s eligibility to run.


Sunday Independent

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