(ATR) South African runner Caster Semenya runs her last race before being subject to testing for elevated levels of testosterone.
The 28-year-old has dominated the 800 meter event for six years, winning gold at both the London and Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The race was her 29th consecutive victory since 2016.
Not even close. Caster Semenya wins 800m in Doha. (IAAF)
Friday evening in Doha, Semenya coasted to victory in the first race of the season on the IAAF calendar, clocking 1:56:51. Olympic silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi finished three seconds behind.
The race is the first since the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled May 1 that the IAAF can impose standards for testosterone levels from athletes who change gender from male to female.
For Semenya, the ruling means she will be subject to IAAF rules on testosterone levels if she wants to continue competing. That might require her to take medication. Semenya has not admitted to having
Caster Semenya is undefeated in the 800m since 2016. (Getty Images)
elevated testosterone levels.
“For me, I believe nothing is hard in life because it is up to you how you take life. As an athlete, I believe in sportsmanship and what sports teaches you is to keep pushing on despite all odds,” Semenya said in Doha Friday night.
“I know life could be difficult at times but I'm a believer and I believe there is always a way to resolve issues. One of my firm beliefs is that there is always a way out for everything. So if a wall is placed in front of me, I jump it.
“I'm going to keep enjoying my life and live it. I will keep on training and running. To me, impossibility is nothing,” Semenya said.
“Tonight, I didn't expect to win in that way against such an accomplished field so it's a good sign but the season is only just beginning,” she said.
The Diamond League opener, a tradition for the Qatar capital, was held this year at the 40,000 seat Khalifa International Stadium. The arena will be the venue in September for the IAAF World Championships.
Reported by Ed Hula.
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