Caster Semenya wins gold as IAAF presses case on whether should compete with other women
South Africa’s Caster Semenya on Saturday night, won gold – her first olympic medal – in the women’s 800m event at #Rio2016.
She crossed the finish line in 1:55.28. The time was her personal best, a new South African national record, and the fifth-fastest time in Olympic history.
Behind her, Francine Niyonsaba, the world Indoor champion, grabbed silver in 1:56.49 to win Burundi’s first ever female Olympic athletics medal.
Kenya’s Margaret Wambui, 20, won gold after clocking at 1:56.89 – her personal best.
Caster’s Rio Olympics campaign has been filled with controversy as to whether she should compete as a woman because of her hyperandrogenism condition.
Just two hours before her race, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)’s president, Sebastian Coe, said again that the governing body will soon go back to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) to try to overturn a decision it took in July, 2015, that the IAAF should provide evidence proving exactly how much of an advantage hyperandrogenic runners had over everyone else.
The IAAF believes that she, and all other hyperandrogenic athletes, should not be allowed to compete unless they take action to suppress their naturally high testosterone levels.
Speaking after her victory, she said: “I dedicate this to my team. They’ve done a fantastic job. It’s a great feeling. Just fantastic. I couldn’t believe it. Just fantastic”.
“Semenya explained that Nelson Mandela had once told her: “Sports is meant to make people feel united” and that’s what she is trying to do. “I think I have made a difference,” she said. “I have meant a lot to my people. I have done well. They are proud of me. And that was the main focus. I was doing it for my people, the people who support me”