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

Caster Semenya
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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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