Semenya to race 3,000m in Prefontaine Classic

LOS ANGELES • Caster Semenya will run her first race since rules governing hormone levels in women came into effect on May 8.

She is taking part in the 3,000m, a distance she can contest without reducing her testosterone levels, at the Diamond League Prefontaine Classic on June 30.

The two-time 800m Olympic champion has insisted she will not take medication to comply with new International Association of Athletics Federations rules.

Women with higher than normal male testosterone levels are required to artificially lower the amount to under 5nmol/L, double the normal female range of below 2nmol/L, to compete in races from 400m to a mile.

Semenya won the 800m at the Doha Diamond League meeting this month in her first race since losing her appeal of the ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The South Africa track body has said it will lodge an appeal with the Switzerland Federal Tribunal, citing lack of clarity over how the rules can be implemented.

Semenya's case has provoked a furious debate in global sports about gender and those with "differences of sexual development".

The World Medical Association has urged doctors not to enforce the rules, warning that attempts to do so would breach ethics codes.

Tom Jordan, meet director of the Prefontaine Classic in Stanford, California, said that Semenya's agent reached out to meet officials asking if she could start in the 3,000m.

"We were happy to oblige," Jordan said, adding that he saw "no downside whatsoever" despite the controversy over the new rules.

Semenya will be an underdog in a field that includes world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri, 2016 world indoor 1,500m champion Sifan Hassan, and 2018 world indoor 1,500m and 3,000m champion Genzebe Dibaba.

"I don't know what will happen next. But no one should tell me what to do," the 28-year-old Semenya said in Doha.

"I will switch races when I want to. I'm a power athlete, I can run from 100m to 5km, so I can run any race I want."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2019, with the headline 'Semenya to race 3,000m in Prefontaine Classic'. Print Edition | Subscribe