The cap – Caster Semenya will make one final attempt at qualifying for the Olympics when she runs over 5,000 meters in a competition in Belgium this week.
The 30-year-old South African is banned from participating in any 400-meter to one-mile race after the sport’s governing body, World Athletics, ruled in 2018 that to ensure fair competition, women with high levels of natural testosterone must take medication to reduce them in to participate in middle distance races.
The two-time 800 Olympic champion, who refuses to take medication to alter her testosterone levels, ended up with the 5,000 as her best chance to go to the Tokyo Games, but her efforts so far to end in the 15: 10.00 mark failed.
She has tried twice since winning the South African 5,000-meter title in Pretoria in April, but her best time was 15: 32.15 in a meeting in Durban last month that had been specially organized to offer him an opportunity.
Semenya then moved to Europe where she felt she had a better chance of qualifying alongside stronger riders, but couldn’t do better than fourth with a time of 15: 57.12 in Regensburg, Germany on June 19.
Wednesday’s meeting in Liège, as part of the World Athletics’ Continental Tour, will be his last chance. The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday defined the last chance for athletics to qualify for Tokyo, but Athletics South Africa would have assured him the grace of a day.
Hopes of an invitation to the Olympics are unlikely as 44 women have already qualified for 42 places in the 5000 meters in Tokyo. The playoffs will take place on July 30 and the final on August 2.
Semenya continues to challenge World Athletics’ ruling and has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights, but the case is unlikely to be completed by the start of the Tokyo Games on July 23.
Last year she tried the 200 as an alternative and lowered her personal best from 24.26 to 23.49, still well beyond the Olympic qualifying mark of 22.80. She then abandoned her plans in favor of the much longer distance as she said she feared injuries.
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Caster Semenya