Caster in complete control at Games

18 August 2016 - 09:24 By DAVID ISAACSON

In the build-up to the Olympic Games, the SA Olympic Committee insisted it was not planning any special measures to shield Caster Semenya, but yesterday she was ushered through the mixed zone by a team official without stopping for interviews. Semenya ran a well-controlled race, attacking on the final bend to take the lead and win her 800m heat in 1min 59.31sec to qualify automatically for the semifinals.Semenya, the 2009 world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist, is believed to be intersex and, critics say, is as a result receiving the advantage of the extra testosterone produced naturally by her body.The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled last year that female athletes did not need to take hormonal suppressants because there was no proof that natural testosterone gave athletes an unfair advantage.The court gave the IAAF, the world governing body for athletics, until next year to submit proof to reverse the decision.The case was brought by Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, who failed to progress past the women's 100m heats in Rio.Semenya's lifetime best performances this year have been closely scrutinised, with much criticism directed at her, even though she had nothing to do with the court's ruling.Some of Semenya's rivals did stop to talk after the race, but they refused to speak out against her.British runner Shelayna Oskan-Clarke, who ran in the same heat, said the South African was entitled to compete."I just have to do what I have to do. I don't really have any views. I think it's an awful situation and it's a hard decision to make. I don't think it's fair for someone not to run."Semenya, the sixth-fastest of the heat winners, said the conditions in Rio were difficult."It was not easy, it was pretty hot outside," she said in a recorded interview arranged by the SA media liaison officer."I was just trying to feel comfortable."..

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