Athletics

'There is always a way out': Caster Semenya vows to keep fighting

05 May 2019 - 00:00 By DAVID ISAACSON and AFP


Athletics boss Sebastian Coe was in the stands as Caster Semenya conquered a world-class 800m field at the Diamond League opener in Doha on Friday night.
He may have beaten her in their latest battle this past week when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that the IAAF's controversial gender regulations were valid.
But he wasn't trumpeting it, declining to answer questions on the case after flying into the Qatari city which will stage his body's world championships later this year. The athlete, on the other hand, spoke freely with hope in her heart and defiance in her veins.
REFUSE MEDICATION
She vowed to keep fighting and training, and made it clear she would refuse to take the medication necessary for her to be allowed to compete in her main events - the 800m, 400m and 1,500m.
"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," said Semenya, who two days before failed in her bid to halt the world athletics body's rules that will force female athletes with differences in sex development to lower their naturally occurring high levels of testosterone.
"I'm going to keep enjoying my life and live it. I will keep on training and running."
The IAAF regulations will take effect from Wednesday, but when asked if she intended to take hormone-suppressing treatment, Semenya replied: "Hell, no. No way."I don't know what will happen next. But no one should tell me what to do. If people want to stop me from doing something that's their problem, not mine."Semenya is still planning to defend her 800m world championship crown."In September, of course, my main goal is to defend my title. But I am a crazy athlete who goes from one race to another [from 400m to 5,000m] and I will continue.'I AM VERY HAPPY'"It was an incredible race tonight. I worked hard. I felt great. I am very happy. I did what I came to do. 1min 54sec is a very good time. Now I will go home and train hard to do better than 1.54."Semenya's 1:54.98 meet record in Doha put her nearly three seconds ahead of her nearest rival, Olympic silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, with American Ajee Wilson, the 2017 world championship bronze medallist, more than a second further back.With Semenya's future in athletics uncertain, the impact could be devastating if she were unable to get to the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.She is one of SA's four top medal contenders for the showpiece, alongside long-jumper Luvo Manyonga, swimmer Chad Le Clos and Jordy Smith, who seems likely to compete in surfing's first Olympic outing.

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