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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I was on testosterone medication at London 2012' - Semenya as she vows to continue fight against WA

For the first time in her career Caster Semenya has revealed that she was taking medication to lower her testosterone levels at the 2012 Olympic Games. Having burst onto the global scene when she won the gold medal at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, the 800m athlete's gender was immediately questioned. Speaking to pupil's at St Benedict's College east of Johannesburg yesterday about gender issues, Semenya told the school's Gerladine Pillay-Viret that she ran a sluggish race and finished second because authorities her forced to take medication which made her run badly.

"It's the right time for me to school people," she told the media after spending time taking selfies with students and teachers. "Me coming here today to share that with you was important for me to say it because I love my job. I don't wanna lose touch with people that I am connected to. I'm matured enough now to know when to say things and when not to say them. But now in this journey, I think it's about time to share whatever I think it's right for me to share with you."

Semenya celebrates as she prepares to receive her silver medal at London 2012. Lying last at the bell, Semenya rallied to finish second. Her silver medal was later upgraded to gold when Russia's Maria Savinova was stripped of her gold medal after testing positive for a banned substance. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

That journey as a long distance runner will be put to the test when the double Olympic 800m champion races the 5000m at the Caster Semenya says she has nothing to prove at the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Championships which get underway in Mauritius on June 8. Semenya gained selection to the national team for next week's competition after finishing second (15:31.50) behind Dominique Scott-Efurd (15:28.10) over twelve and a half laps of the track at the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships in Cape Town in April.

But that runner-up position and failure to qualify for last year's Olympic Games have led some to question whether the 31-year old can have the same impact over the longer distances as she did over the middle distances.The 3-time world championships gold medalist believes that she has nothing to prove.

Semenya poses with Dominique Scott-Erfud and bronze medalist Kayla Jacobs after taking the silver medal at the ASA Senior Track & Field Championships in April. Photo Credit: ASA Media.

"People shouldn't think I'm doing 5000m because I don't have a choice. It was always my choice. It was always in my plans but unfortunately it came at the wrong time when I was still wrapping up my 800m career. But I'm happy with where I am at the moment. There's more to come. This is a different event and I'm still learning how to master it. Obviously it will take me several years. Just going there to represent South Africa is a victory," she explained.

Transitioning from the middle to the long distances doesn't mean that The Cobra has given up her fight against World Athletics either. Forced to run the 5000m because of rules introduced by World Athletics to curb what they call the unfair advantage she enjoys as a result of her higher testosterone levels, the 1500m national record holder (3:59.92) who took athletics' governing body to the Court for Arbitration in Sport says the fight is not over yet.

"I've escalated into a long distance runner and closed the chapter of my past and looking forward to a great future where it's all about for what is right. I fear nobody. Whether you are authorities and you think you are bigger than me, I will always show up. I stand for what is right. I'm not going to compromise my happiness for any other thing. That will never end until it gets to the conclusion. This is more like war. It's a war between me and authorities who are trying to be ignorant," she said.

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