'Proud' Semenya back on track after IAAF rule change

Caster Semenya will bid to move the spotlight from new IAAF rules for female athletes who have high testosterone levels firmly back to the track as the Diamond League gets under way in Doha on Friday.

The South African, the double Olympic 800 metres champion, will race in the 1500m in the opening of the IAAF's elite 14-meet competition. It will
be her first outing since the rule changes were announced.

Semenya has long come under scrutiny because of her powerful physique and deep voice related to hyperandrogenism, the medical condition which causes a person to produce high levels of male sex hormones.

The new rules introduced by track and field's governing body and which come into effect on November 1, 2018, will allow such athletes to compete only if they take medication to reduce naturally occurring levels of testosterone.

The rules, which the IAAF puts under the heading "Difference of Sexual Development" (DSD), cover races from 400m to the mile, including 400m, hurdles races, 800m, 1500m, one-mile races and combined events over the same distances.

Semenya hits the Diamond League in top form, having most recently claimed the 800m-1500m double at the Commonwealth Games.

"God made me the way I am and I accept myself. I am who I am and I am proud of myself," the defiant South African tweeted Tuesday.

That tweet followed two more by the 27-year-old stating: "Opinions aren't facts. Stop worrying about what people think about you" and "Not everyone deserves to know the real you. Let them criticise who they think you are."

Either way, Semenya's trademark last-lap burst to the front of the pack will be fully tested at the Qatar Sports Club by a field including five Kenyans and four Ethiopians sure to seek to hamper the South African with team tactics.



AFP

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