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Caster Semenya considered boycott, says she’s blocked from Rabat meet

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Caster Semenya said she has been denied entry into Sunday’s Diamond League meet in Rabat, Morocco, even though she is eligible to race her preferred distances while a Swiss supreme court decides on her appeal against the IAAF’s new rules for female events.

Semenya also said she considered boycotting racing the 800m unless the rule is lifted for all affected runners.

“I am a woman, but the IAAF has again tried to stop me from running the way I was born,” Semenya said in the release. “The IAAF questions my sex, causes me great pain and required me to take hormonal drugs that made me feel constantly sick and unable to focus for many years. No other woman should be forced to go through this in order to have the same right that all women have – to do what we love and run the way we were born.”

The two-time Olympic 800m champion’s team said she was told Tuesday that the president of the Moroccan track and field federation denied her from entering the 800m in Sunday’s meet.

“Caster is currently seeking clarity on the specific reasons for that decision, and she urges the IAAF to ensure its member federations comply with the law and the Supreme Court’s orders,” according to a press release.

The given media contact for the Rabat meet did not respond to an email last week asking if Semenya would be invited to race after the Swiss court made her eligible for the time being to race her best events — from the 400m through the mile. The same contact did not respond to a follow-up email Thursday afternoon following Semenya’s press release.

Later, on Friday, the meet announced it has invited Semenya into the meet. Semenya’s agent said it was too late for her to be able to travel to Morocco to compete, according to Reuters.

“It should be noted that the Diamond League meetings are not organized by the IAAF,” the IAAF said in a statement later Thursday. “Entry for any athlete into a Diamond League meeting is by invitation only from the meeting organizer.”

Semenya’s team also said the Swiss court denied an IAAF request to reimpose the regulations. The IAAF said it “continues to comply with” the Swiss court order to suspend the testosterone rule, strictly for Semenya.

“No woman should be subjected to these rules,” Semenya said in the release. “I thought hard about not running the 800m in solidarity unless all women can run free. But I will run now to show the IAAF that they cannot drug us.”

Semenya is also seeking to change her event at the Pre Classic on June 30 from the 3000m to the 800m, according to the release.

“As one of the premier track and field meets in the World, the Prefontaine Classic always strives to have the top athletes in attendance,” a meet spokesperson said when asked if Semenya will be allowed in the 800m. “If an athlete has a time/mark that is among the best in the World and is eligible in the eyes of the sports’ governing bodies, then yes, they will be considered for an invite to the Prefontaine Classic.”

MORE: Caster Semenya to IAAF: Focus on dopers, not us

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USOPC seeks to revoke USA Badminton’s status

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U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland filed a complaint to revoke USA Badminton’s status as the national governing body for the sport, a year after a USOPC audit found the organization lacked athlete safety requirements.

USA Badminton “failed to meet its responsibilities as an NGB and consistently failed to meet its obligations to its members and to U.S. athletes,” according to the USOPC. “Further, USAB has failed to conduct itself in a manner that demonstrates it can fulfill those responsibilities.”

Asked for reaction, USA Badminton interim CEO Linda French said, “I’m very disappointed in the USOPC and the conduct of their staff.”

USA Badminton recently had mass resignations among its board and top officials amid governance issues and the USOPC threatening decertification. A 2018 USOPC audit found four “high risk” areas in USA Badminton’s athlete safety and SafeSport compliance that, by March, had not been fully resolved.

“We have attempted to work with USAB’s leadership over the course of the last year to address our concerns, however those efforts have not yielded the results necessary to give me confidence in USAB’s ability to continue to serve its athletes as an NGB,” Hirshland wrote. “We remain committed to working with USAB’s leadership to address our concerns but have so far not found a willing partner.”

The next step is for Hirshland to appoint an independent panel to hear the complaint. There is no specific timeline for a resolution, though Hirshland said it will take a minimum of several weeks.

If USA Badminton’s status is revoked, the USOPC would assume control on an interim basis.

Last November, the USOPC filed the same complaint against USA Gymnastics, seeking to revoke its status after the Larry Nassar sexual-abuse crimes came to light followed by several leadership changes.

USA Gymnastics since filed for bankruptcy and named former college gymnast and NBA executive Li Li Leung its new CEO in February. It remains the sport’s NGB with eight months until the Tokyo Olympics.

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Sun Yang should get lengthy ban if he loses doping hearing, WADA says

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency wants China’s star swimmer Sun Yang banned for up to eight years for alleged doping rules violations.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Tuesday ahead of a rare appeal hearing in open court on Friday that WADA requests a ban of two to eight years. Sun served a three-month ban in 2014 for a positive test.

If WADA wins, the three-time Olympic freestyle champion will miss the Tokyo Games.

WADA has challenged world swimming body FINA’s ruling to merely warn Sun after a disputed attempt by sample collectors to take blood and urine from him at his home in China in September 2018. The late-night confrontation lasted from 11 p.m. to beyond 3:30 a.m.

The day-long hearing will examine why a secure box storing a glass vial of blood came to be destroyed by Sun’s entourage, who questioned the sample team’s authority. A FINA tribunal panel agreed the officials lacked proper credentials to make the sample collection valid.

WADA believes Sun broke anti-doping rules by refusing to submit to a sample collection.

All sides agreed to Sun’s request to hold a first CAS appeal in public for 20 years.

A verdict is unlikely until early next year.

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