Caster Semenya to race next month in Paris

The two-time Olympic champion will run in the 2000 metres, her first race since losing appeal against the IAAF.

By Evelyn Watta

Double Olympic champion Caster Semenya will be back on track on 11 June, when she lines up for the 2000m event at the Montreuil meeting, just outside of Paris, France.

It will be Semenya’s first race since she lost her appeal against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules regulating testosterone levels in female runners at the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Lausanne.

"This is a great sporting opportunity. It's a joy to welcome such a high-level athlete and an excellent thing for this meeting."

- Loic Giowachini, Montreuil Meeting General Director to L'Equipe

Semenya defiant

The IAAF rules, which came into effect on May 8, require female athletes with Differences in Sexual Development (DSD) to take medication to lower their testosterone levels under 5 nmol/L if they wish to compete in races between 400m to the mile (1609m).

The South African, who won two gold medals at the Olympics and three world titles, took the opening 800m Diamond League race in Doha on 3 May.

The 28-year-old said she would not take hormone-suppressing medication.

“Hell, no way!” she told the BBC soon after winning the event in Doha.

“I don’t know what will happen next. But no one should tell me what to do. If people want to stop me from doing something, that’s their problem, not mine.”

She seems to have a clear plan now.

After the meeting at Stade des Grands-Pechers in Montreuil, Semenya will run the 3000m at the Prefontaine Classic in Stanford, California on June 30.

It will be a stellar Diamond League field that will include the world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya, Olympic 5000m silver medallist Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the Netherlands' Sifan Hassan, who is the 2018 world indoor gold medallist.

Distance runner

Semenya is no stranger to the longer distances.

She won the 5000m at the South African National Championships in April in 16 minutes 5.97 seconds.

Even if the South African government plans to appeal CAS' decisions to Switzerland’s Federal Supreme Court, it seems unlikely that the double Olympic champion will defend her 800m title at the World Championships in September in Doha, Qatar.

The other elite athletes affected by the IAAF regulations have yet to decide which events they will take part in.

Kenya's Margaret Nyairera Wambui, who took bronze behind Semenya at Rio 2016, vowed not to take any medication and is contemplating scaling down to the 100m or 200m distance.

Rio 2016 silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi told the Olympic Channel that she's ready to move up to 5000m to save her track career.