CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Caster Semenya is signed up to compete at next week’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon, potentially setting up a surprise return to the big stage for the two-time Olympic champion who is still banned from her race. favorite, and still at the heart of one of the most controversial issues in sport.
This question of whether intersex women should be allowed to compete in women’s events has bubbled up again in recent weeks, but will be front and center at Hayward Field — the spiritual home of American athletics — if Semenya runs.
Semenya was entered on Friday for the women’s 5,000 meters, an event she turned to after being barred from her favorite 800 meters by regulations affecting women with conditions that cause high natural testosterone.
Semenya’s inclusion on a list of competitors for Eugene published by World Athletics was unexpected after she failed to make the qualifying time for the 5000m and was not included in the South Africa squad. South named this week for the world championships. Semenya is not expected to win a medal in the 5000m as her personal best in distance running is a far cry from the best runners in the world. But his presence will be enough to stir up more intrigue.
NBC reported that Semenya was moved to the world championship roster after some higher-ranked runners did not compete in the 5,000. The South African Athletics Federation and representatives for Semenya did not immediately respond to requests. clarifications.
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 was banned from racing. from 400 meters to one mile since 2019 under rules that exclude women who have an intersex condition called the 46,XY difference in sexual development.
The rules require women to undergo medical intervention to lower their natural hormone levels below a certain threshold if they want to race in these races. Semenya and other riders under DSD rules have refused to do so and have been forced into other unregulated events for the past three years.
Although Semenya has been the face of the testosterone battle for over a decade, she’s not the only athlete affected by DSD rules. Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba, the silver medalist behind Semenya in the 800m at the 2016 Olympics, was also forced into the 5,000m. Niyonsaba is also listed to run in the 5,000 in Eugene and is a medal contender, which means this event will likely draw a lot of attention.
Two other athletes, Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, were banned from the 400 meters last year due to high levels of natural testosterone. Both teenagers, they moved up to the 200 meters at the Tokyo Olympics, their first major event, and were shocked when Mboma won the silver medal and Masilingi finished sixth in the final. Mboma will miss the world championships in Eugene due to injury, but Masilingi will compete again in the 200m.
Semenya’s reappearance at the world championships would come just as athletics authorities are considering further changes to their DSD regulations that could go so far as to completely exclude female athletes with 46, XY DSD and high natural testosterone from all women’s events during major competitions.
World Athletics chairman Sebastian Coe said he would discuss both its transgender and DSD regulations at the end of the year, a decision possibly triggered by swimming banning transgender women from women’s events the month last.
Transgender and DSD issues are different but often overlap as they both deal with the question of whether women with high natural testosterone – above the typical female range – should be allowed to compete in women’s sports.
Semenya is not transgender. She was designated female at birth, raised as a girl, and identifies as female. She has never publicly identified as intersex—meaning having both male and female traits—or as having the 46, XY DSD condition. However, she essentially admitted to having the condition when appealing the DSD rules to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2018. She lost that case and a second appeal, and is pursuing a third challenge against the rules at the European Court of Human Rights. the man.