Defiant Semenya says no 800m, no worlds
STANFORD, US – Caster Semenya said Sunday, June 30, she will not take part in the World Championships if she loses her legal battle with the IAAF over new rules governing testosterone levels in female athletes.
The two-time Olympic champion extended her four-year unbeaten streak in the 800m on Sunday after cruising to victory in the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting at Stanford University in Northern California with a time of 1:55.7.
Semenya had not raced in the 800m since May 3, shortly after she lost a court challenge against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) over new rules which will force her to regulate her testosterone levels.
That ruling was subsequently put on hold by a Swiss Federal Tribunal pending a full hearing, leaving Semenya free to compete until a final decision in her case.
Semenya had previously indicated that if she loses her legal case, she would continue to compete over longer distances, which are not affected by the IAAF's new testosterone rules.
However speaking to reporters on Sunday, she said there was no chance of her racing at the World Championships in Qatar if she is not allowed to run in the 800m.
"If I'm not running 800m, I'm not running world championships," Semenya told reporters.
"No 1,500m, no nothing. I'm just going to take a vacation and then come back next year."
"My goals are the 800m and to defend my world title. So if I'm not allowed, I'm not allowed."
Asked if she expected to compete in the Olympics next year, where she will be chasing a hat trick of 800m gold medals, she replied: "I expect to be in Tokyo. I expect to be in Paris (in 2024), I expect to be in Los Angeles (in 2028)."
Semenya meanwhile insisted she would pursue her case for as long as possible.
"This is like a legal battle, like war," said the South African. "You don't give up. If you beat me today, I beat you tomorrow."
"At the end of the day it's about me, and doing what makes me happy. I'm a world champion, I'm an Olympic champion, I've achieved everything I've ever wanted."
"I'm doing this for those that cannot fight for themselves."
Semenya has not been beaten over 800m since 2015.
Her winning streak was never in danger on Sunday as she pulled away from the field with 300m to go before crossing the line 15 meters clear of the United States' Ajee Wilson, who took 2nd in 1:58.36. Raevyn Rogers was 3rd in 1:58.65. – Rappler.com