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Caster Semenya fails again in 5,000m Olympic Qualifying bid

OLYMPICS By AFP | June 21st 2021
FILE - South Africa's Caster Semenya waits for the start of the 800-meter semifinal race during the athletics competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.AP

South African athlete Caster Semenya missed out again on Saturday in Regensburg, Germany to qualify for the 5,000 metres at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 30-year-old, who is barred from defending her Olympic 800m title, finished fourth in Saturday’s race in a time of 15 minutes 57.12 seconds, more than 47 seconds outside the 15:10 required to compete in Tokyo.

She has previously clocked times of 15:52.28 in Pretoria at an altitude of 1,339 metres (4,393 feet) and 15:32.15 at sea level in Durban.

Semenya has been the Olympic champion twice and world champion three times over 800m, but is barred from competing over that distance by World Athletics’ testosterone-reducing regulations.

Females like Semenya who have unusually high levels of testosterone, which gives them added strength, are prohibited from competing in races between 400m and a mile.

The South African refuses to take medication that would reduce her testosterone level and has twice failed in legal battles to overturn the World Athletics decision.

She recently took her case to the European Court of Human Rights, but it is unlikely to be heard before the Olympics begin.

Reacting to the ban, Semenya initially favoured seeking qualification for the 200m, but became concerned about potential injuries and switched to 5,000m.

The International Olympic Committee has set June 29 as the qualification deadline for athletes wanting to compete in Japan.

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