Caster Semenya vows to fight on after failing to qualify for Tokyo Olympics

Caster Semenya vowed to continue her fight against the ban that prevents her from competing in her preferred 800m event after she failed in a bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics at alternative distances.

Caster Semenya is two-time defending Olympic champion at 800m.   -  Getty Images

Caster Semenya vowed to continue her fight against the ban that prevents her from competing in her preferred 800m event after she failed in a bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics at alternative distances.

The 30-year-old South African, who is two-time defending Olympic champion at 800m, is banned from competing in any race from 400m to a mile. Under the IAAF rule, female athletes with naturally high testosterone levels need to take medication to reduce it. Athletes who wanted to compete in those events must take medication for six months, then maintain a lower testosterone level. But Semenya, who refuses to take any medication to alter her testosterone levels, will continue to battle against the ruling despite losing several appeals over the last two years.

Semenya fails to reach Olympic qualifying time for 5,000m  

"The ban doesn't make sense at all. But hey, that's none of my business. I'll leave it up to the right people to handle the situation, I’ll keep fighting for my rights," she told Belgian television after finishing fourth in a 5000m race in Liege on Wednesday.

Semenya has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights, but that process is unlikely to be completed for months.

In the meantime, she failed in a long-shot bid to go to the games, first in the 200m and then at 5000m.

She began last year trying the 200m as an alternative and lowered her personal best from 24.26 to 23.49, but was still well outside of the Olympic qualifying mark of 22.80.

Semenya sentenced to 50 hours of community service for speeding  

Semenya then abandoned those plans in favour of the much longer distance as she said she feared injury.

But at 5000m, she proved unable, despite several efforts over the last three months, to finish inside the qualifying mark of 15:10.00 and missed out. Her last effort in Liege on Wednesday would not have counted anyway as it was after the deadline for Olympic entries.

Semenya’s future is now distinctly unclear.

"Of course, I hope the rule changes. I'm an 800m runner. There's no doubt about that. I keep hoping that I can run my preferred number. But right now, my focus is on being healthy. To be an inspiration for young athletes. I will continue to fight for my rights,” she added.

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