Semenya to skip world championships unless allowed to run 800m

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DOHA, QATAR - MAY 03: Caster Semenya of South Africa races to the line to win the Women's 800 meters during the IAAF Diamond League event at the Khalifa International Stadium on May 03, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
 

Olympic champion Caster Semenya says if she can not run in the 800 metres because of new testosterone regulations imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that she would not take part in the world championships in Doha in September.

“If I am not running 800 metres, I’m not running in the world championships,” the 28-year-old South African said after winning her favourite event in one minute, 55.70 at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting.

“No 1,500 (metres), nothing. I am just going to take a vacation, and then come (back to competing) next year.”

The South African repeated that she would not take medication to satisfy the IAAF regulations, which are currently on hold for her after a court ruling.

Under the rules, XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs), like Semenya, must take medication to lower their natural testosterone levels if they are to compete at distances from 400m to a mile.

Testosterone is a hormone that increases muscle mass, strength and haemoglobin and the IAAF said its own research showed it gave a significant endurance advantage to athletes in the 400 metres to mile range.

Semenya has refused to take the medication, saying: “I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete. The IAAF will not drug me or stop me from being who I am.”

“This is like a legal battle,” Semenya said. “It’s like war. You don’t give up. You beat me today, I beat you tomorrow.

“But I am not doing this for me. I am a world champion, I have achieved everything I ever wanted.

“At the end of the day I am doing this for those who can’t fight for themselves.

The testosterone rules that could affect her career but Semenya says she’s looking towards the next three Olympics.

“I expect to be in Tokyo, Paris and Los Angeles,” she said.

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