DURBAN, South Africa (Reuters) – Double Olympic 800 metres champion Caster Semenya failed in her latest bid to qualify for this year’s Tokyo Games, finishing well outside the qualifying mark for the 5,000m at the Olympics.
The 30-year-old South African is banned from competing in any race from 400m to a mile after the sport’s governing World Athletics ruled in 2018 that to ensure fair competition, women with high natural testosterone levels must take medication to reduce them to compete in middle-distance races.
Semenya, who refuses to take any medication to alter her testosterone levels, has been left with the 5000m as her best chance to go to the Tokyo Games but a bid to finish inside the qualifying mark of 15:10.00 failed at a meeting in Durban on Friday that was specially arranged to offer her an opportunity.
Semenya finished in 15:32.15, far outside the qualifying time, although it was faster than the 15:52.28 she posted in winning the South African 5,000m title in Pretoria last month.
Semenya continues to challenge the World Athletics ruling and has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights but the case is unlikely to be completed by the time the Tokyo Games begin on July 23.
Her attorney Greg Nott told local media this week that Semenya was hoping to have the matter settled before next year’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris)