Semenya to race 5 000m at AGN Track Meet tomorrow
The Top Runner has learnt that Caster Semenya will race the 5 000m at the Athletics Gauteng North (AGN) meeting in Tshwane tomorrow. The reigning 800m Olympic champion has been embroiled in a protracted battle with World Athletics over her right to race her preferred two-lap event.
World Athletics’ governing body believe that Semenya’s naturally higher levels of testosterone give her an unfair advantage and so introduced a new rule which effectively bans her from taking part in the 400m, 800, or 1500m unless she takes medication to lower her testosterone. It means that while the legal battle continues, The Cobra must now tackle a different distance if she wants to compete at next year’s Olympic Games in Japan.
Earlier this week #TheTopRunner’s Charles Baloyi spoke to Athletics South Africa President Aleck Skhosana, who defended the federation’s decision to include her in the Olympic preparation squad despite her legal woes. Although Skhosana confirmed that Semenya would participate at the track meet in Pretoria, he would not be drawn on which distance SA’s golden girl would race.
But a source close to Caster has informed #TheTopRunner that she will take on the 5 000m in a bid to qualify for Tokyo 2021. As a Commonwealth champion over 1500m, she is certainly no slouch over the longer distances. Last year Semenya was crowned SA 5 000m champion when she beat Dominique Scott-Efurd at the Germiston Stadium to take line honours and the gold medal in 16:05.97