Caster Semenya has been slated to compete at next week’s World Championships in Athletics in Oregon, potentially setting up a surprise return to the big stage for the two-time Olympic champion.
- Semenya has been entered in the women’s 5,000m
- The South African hasn’t competed in a World Championships or Olympics since 2017
- She is appealing against the rules that prohibit women who have a condition called 46,XY difference in sexual development
Semenya, one of the sport’s most controversial athletes, was entered for the women’s 5,000 meters on Friday.
It’s an event she turned to after being banned from running in her favorite 800m race under athletics testosterone regulations.
Semenya’s inclusion on a list of competitors published by World Athletics was unexpected as she failed to make the qualifying time for the 5,000m event and was not included in the South Africa squad. South for the named World Championships this week.
NBC reported that Semenya was moved to the roster after some higher-ranked riders did not compete in the championships.
The South African Athletics Federation and Semenya representatives did not immediately respond to requests for clarification.
If she runs, it will be the first time Semenya has competed in a World Championships or Olympics since 2017, when she won her third world title in the 800m.
She also has two Olympic gold medals over two rounds, but has been barred from running in 400m one-mile races since 2019 under rules that bar women who have a particular intersex condition called difference 46. , XY in sexual development.
Semenya went to court twice to appeal against the rules, but lost both cases. She is pursuing a third appeal before the European Court of Human Rights.
Semenya’s appearance at a world championship would also come as athletics authorities are considering changes to their Difference in Sex Development (DSD) regulations that could go so far as to completely exclude female athletes with 46,XY DSD and high natural testosterone of all female events. in major meetings.
In an HBO documentary, Semenya – who was assigned female at birth, raised as a girl and identifies as female – revealed she had to undergo various ‘gender verification’ tests , including physical examinations.
“They thought I had a [penis]probably, says Semenya.
When asked if they were looking at her naked, she said, “Yes, of course. I told them, ‘It’s okay. I’m a woman, I don’t care. If you want to see that I’m a woman, I’ll show you’re my vagina, okay?'”
These tests would have shown that Semenya suffered from hyperandrogenism, characterized by a naturally high testosterone level. As a result, the runner was forced to take hormonal drugs, which she said had multiple harmful side effects.
“It made me sick, made me gain weight, [have] panic attacks,” she said.
“I didn’t know if I was going to have a heart attack.
“But I had no choice. I [was] 18 years old, I wanted to run, I wanted to go to the Olympic Games.
“It was the only option for me. I had to make it work.”
Semenya has never publicly identified as intersex – meaning having both male and female traits – or as having the 46, XY DSD condition.
Semenya has publicly admitted to having high natural testosterone, but has refused to submit to DSD rules which state that she must undergo treatment to reduce her natural hormone levels below a specific threshold if she wants to participate in the competition. 800m race.