South African track star Caster Semenya has taken to social media to stun the athletics world with her plan to compete at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Or did she?
The decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport meant that women with elevated testosterone would, going forward, have to take suppressive treatment if they wished to compete against women in events from 400m to the mile.
Semenya vowed not to undergo treatment, thereby forcing her out of the women’s 800m – the event in which she would’ve been a two-time defending champion in Japan having romped to the gold medal in both London in 2012 and Rio in 2016.
On Friday evening, writing on her Instagram page, Semenya, 29, confirmed that in order to continue to compete at the highest level, she would be switching to the 200m.
However, minutes later the post, written on a letterhead of Masai AC of which Semenya is a co-founder, was removed (see screengrab below prior to its removal).
The South African record in the women’s 200m, set back in 1989, is held by Evette de Klerk (22.06), while the world record belongs to American Florence Griffith Joyner (21.34).
The African record is held by Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare (22.04).
Semenya must clock a 22.80 200m to qualify for Tokyo
and her best time, achieved on Friday in Pretoria when winning a provincial
championships final, is 23.49.
Whether the Tokyo Olympics goes ahead in light of the coronavirus outbreak, remains to be seen.