June 18, 2019 / 5:59 PM / 4 months ago

Semenya to chase fast 800m at Prefontaine Classic

(Reuters) - Caster Semenya will get another chance at her favourite event, the 800 metres, when the South African competes in the June 30 Prefontaine Classic in California, her agent and meeting officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Kenyan athlete Josephine Chelangat (L), Spain's Esther Guerrero (2nd L), South Africa's Caster Semenya (C), Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba (3rd L), and Ethiopia's Adanech Anbesa (at the start of a 2,000 metres at a small meeting in Montreuil, near Paris, France June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

The race will be the first at the distance for the double Olympic champion since the Swiss Federal Tribunal issued a stay of new IAAF regulations for XY chromosome athletes like Semenya with differences in sexual development (DSDs) who compete in events ranging from 400 metres to a mile.

“Caster’s representation requested that she be removed from the 3,000 metres (where she was originally entered) to the 800 metres and we are happy to comply,” meet director Tom Jordan said in a telephone interview.

“Indications are she will be going for a fast time,” said Jordan, who was busy lining up a competitive field for the race at Stanford University.

Semenya, unbeaten at the distance in 30 finals since 2015, has a personal best of 1:54.25, with the world record 1:53.28.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month rejected her appeal against the rules, which mean middle distance female athletes with a high natural level of testosterone must take medication to reduce it.

Semenya has defiantly refused to take medication and appealed to the Swiss Federal Tribunal, which earlier this month said the South African will be able to run in the 800m without medication until her appeal is ruled on by the tribunal on June 25.

The ruling applied only to Semenya, the IAAF said.

“Nothing changes from our point of view,” an IAAF spokeswoman said on Tuesday when asked for comment on Semenya decision to run in the Diamond League race.

“The IAAF continues to comply with the Swiss Federal Tribunal’s order dated 31 May to suspend the DSD Regulations in as far as they apply to the appellant. It should be noted that the Diamond League meetings are not organised by the IAAF. Entry for any athlete into a Diamond League meeting is by invitation only from the meeting organiser.”

Semenya had wanted to run an 800 metres at Sunday’s Rabat Diamond League meeting. She at first was denied entry but officials later reversed their decision.

It came too late, Semenya said.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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