‘I’m Targeted Because I’m Undefeated’ – Caster Semenya

South African double Olympic champion Caster Semenya speaks during the Standard Bank Top Women Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, on August 14, 2019.
PHOTO: Michele Spatari / AFP


South Africa’s two-time Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya on Wednesday shrugged off critics in the face of a ruling that has banned her from defending her world middle distance title in Doha in September.

The 28-year-old has been embroiled in a bitter legal battle with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) over rules that force female athletes to regulate their testosterone levels.

Last month a Swiss court revoked a temporary suspension on the IAAF’s controversial testosterone-curbing rules, meaning the double Olympic champion Semenya can no longer compete in events between the 400m and mile, as she did in June and July.

Speaking at a women’s empowerment conference in Johannesburg, the defiant and confident Semenya said the obsession with getting rid of her was driven by the fact that she is undisputedly the best in the world.

“I’m targeted because I’m undefeated…I’m the best at what I do.”

“When you are the best in the world people get obsessed with what you are doing.”

“Probably I’m a ‘problem’ because I’m an over-achiever so we must get rid of you,” said the self-confident athlete.

Semenya was raised as a woman, races as a woman and is legally classified as a woman.

The IAAF argues that while it accepts Semenya is legally a woman, she has masculine attributes stemming from differences of sexual development (DSD) that create an unfair advantage over other women.

The IAAF this year introduced rules requiring women with higher than normal male hormone levels — so-called “hyperandrogenic” athletes — to artificially lower their testosterone to run in at some distances.

It is a position hotly contested by South African officials.

Semenya did not comment on issues around further litigation in the matter, saying that as an athlete she only wanted to stay focused on her training, which she described as her “weapon”.

“There’s not much that I can say about the case, what I can tell you is that I am on top of my game,” she said adding that she had no plans of quitting running anytime soon.

The athlete has said she will not take any body-altering medication.

The IAAF’s DSD rules — first adopted last year but suspended pending the legal battle — came into effect on May 8, applying to distances from 400m to a mile, and including the heptathlon.

The World Medical Association has urged doctors not to enforce the controversial new rules, warning that attempts to do so would be unethical.


Russia’s Klishina Happy To Participate In Olympics

Darya-Klishina-Russia-OlympicsRussian athlete, Darya Klishina, has expressed delight after she was cleared to compete internationally as a “neutral” participant at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.

Her clearance comes after a successful appeal against a blanket ban on Russian track and field athletes for systematic doping.

“I am really happy. I appreciate every effort of IMG Academy and its staff to create the best possible, safe and clean environment for me,” Klishina said on her Facebook page.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), had placed a ban on Russia in 2015, after a world anti-doping agency report uncovered systematic state-sponsored doping within the country.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) told Russian News Agency, TASS that the 25-year-old was the only successful athlete out of the 136 Russians that applied to an IAAF doping review board for “exceptional eligibility”.

The long jumper is a two-time European indoor champion and 2014 outdoor bronze medalist.

IAAF Open Bids For Tournaments Stripped From Russia

IAAF-World-RaceFour cities are in the run to host 2016 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Race Walking Team Championships.

Russia were originally due to stage the event but new hosts were required after the country’s suspension by the IAAF, owing to allegations of state-sponsored doping.

Guayaquil in Ecuador, Monterrey in Mexico, Ukranian capital, Kiev and Rome have all put themselves in the frame for the race walking event.

Meanwhile, Polish city, Bydgoszcz, is the only bidder for the 2016 World Junior Championships, which were initially due to be hosted by Kazan between July 19 and 24.

Nasarawa To Launch Athletics Sport Enterprise Programme

The Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Almakura
The Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Almakura

The Nasarawa State Government has announced that it is set to implement the process of sport enterprise programme for athletes, considering the huge sport potential the state is endowed with.

Governor Tanko Al-makura made this known while inspecting on-going renovation work on the Lafia township stadium, promising to commercialise athletics to enable youths earn a living through sports.

Mr Al-makura said that the laying of tartan track at the stadium which is the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) approved standard tracks for athletics and other facilities are part of government’s investment for the take-off of sport enterprise in the state.

The renovation work also includes the expansion of popular stand for sport enthusiast, the long jump track, VIP lounge and the football pitch.

LONDON OLYMPICS: Nigeria is out of men’s 4x400m relay

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Tuesday confirmed that Nigeria’s 4x400m men’s relay team will not compete at the London Olympics.

This is contrary to the statement by the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) on Monday which listed the team among the country’s contingent to the Games.

The Nigerian 4x400m relay team is made up of Saul Weigopwa, Abiola Onokoya, Isah Salihu, Tobi Ogunmola, Segun Ogunkole and Godday James.

The team ran 3:02.39 to win the gold medal at the just concluded 18th African Athletics Championships on Sunday in Porto Novo, and they were wrongly informed that the team made the cut for the Olympics.

However, the IAAF on Tuesday released the list of 16 teams that have qualified to participate in the event in London and Nigeria was not included in the list.

According to the IAAF report, “the qualification period for the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m relays at the Games of the XXX Olympiad, London 2012 ended on Monday 2 July. The IAAF is pleased to confirm the following 16 teams, per each of the four relays, which have qualified to compete, are as follows…”

Until the victory in Port Novo, Nigeria was ranked out of the top 20 nations but moved to the 18th on the list following last Sunday’s personal season’s best performance in Benin republic.

South Africa and Kenya will be flying the continent’s flag in the London games which will kick-off in a few weeks.

Meanwhile Nigeria still stands a chance to make the games if two of the qualified countries drop out of the event at the quadrennial Games on their own volition.

Nigeria will thus not be competing in the men’s 4x400m relay at the Olympics.

Victory in past relays have accounted for some of the nine medals Nigeria has won in the athletics event of the Olympic Games.