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Caster Semenya misses out on 5000m Olympic qualifying time in Durban

Double Olympic 800m champion clocks big personal best of 15:32.15, 22 seconds outside the Tokyo 2020 standard.

2 min By Rory Jiwani
Caster Semenya before the 800m at the Doha Diamond League in May 2019
(Picture by 2019 Getty Images)

Double Olympic champion Caster Semenya has failed in her latest bid to achieve the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying time for the 5000m.

At sea level in Durban's Kingspark Stadium on Friday (28 May), the 30-year-old faced just three rivals in the Newton Classic Qualifier.

She was soon tracking Gauteng North club colleague Glenrose Xaba at the front with the other two women a considerable distance behind.

The pair completed the first kilometre in 3:03 with Semenya soon taking her turn on the front as both runners aimed for that Olympic qualifying mark.

Semenya and the diminutive Xaba ran the first 3000m in 9:18, some way outside what was required, and the three-time 800m world champion soon picked up the pace.

She pulled clear with a lap and a half to go and crossed the line in a personal best of 15:32.15, 22 seconds shy of the Olympic standard of 15:10.00.

Semenya won the South African national title last month at altitude in Pretoria in 15:52.28.

The qualification period ends on 29 June with those outside the time hoping their world ranking will secure a spot in Tokyo.

READ: Seven things you should know about double Olympic champion Caster Semenya

In May 2019, a World Athleticseligibility ruling came into effect which prevents female athletes with Differences in Sexual Development (DSD) from competing in events from 400m to one mile (1600m), unless they reduce their testosterone levels.

After failing with appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, Semenya has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

However, she will be unable to go for a hat-trick of 800m titles in Tokyo and is concentrating on the 5000m after deciding sprinting would take too much of a toll on her body.

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