Caster Semenya has indicated she is ready to defy the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) by refusing to take medication which would limit her testosterone levels, claiming “no human can stop me from running”.
The South African stormed to victory in the Diamond League’s 800m women’s final before revealing she has no intention to retire, having previously hinted at this after losing her landmark case against the IAAF earlier this week.
Her attempt to challenge IAAF rules designed to limit unusually high testosterone levels in female athletes was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).
But after crossing the line in Doha with a time of 1:54.99 minutes, Semenya struck a defiant tone.
“Actions speak louder than words,” she said. “When you are a great champion, you always deliver.
“It’s up to God, God has decided my life, God will end my life, God has decided my career, God will end my career. No man, or any other human, can stop me from running.”
She added: “How am I going to retire when I’m 28? I still feel young, energetic. I still have 10 years or more in athletics.
“It doesn’t matter how I’m going to do it, what matters is I’ll still be here.”
The IAAF’s new rules, which have sparked a fierce backlash, will come into effect on Wednesday. According to the regulations, Semenya - and other athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) – must take hormone suppressants in order to compete in track events from 400m to the mile, or change to another distance.
When asked if she would take medication to allow her to run in the 800m, she replied: “Hell no.”
It remains unclear what comes next for Semenya, whose 800m title will be on the line at the World Championships in Doha later this year.
Victory in the opening Diamond League event of the season was her 30th in a row at 800m.
Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba finished in second place, almost three seconds slower than the South African. Ajee Wilson of USA placed third with a time of 1:58.83 minutes.
In Wednesday’s ruling, Cas said the IAAF’s testosterone regulations are “necessary, reasonable and proportionate means” of “preserving the integrity of female athletics.”
In response, Semenya posted on Twitter: “They laugh at me Because I am Different. I Laugh at them Because they’re all The same.”
Cas ruled that the IAAF can force women like Semenya with unusually high testosterone to take medication to lower their levels of the muscle-building sex hormone if they want to compete in events from 400m to the mile.
But the court also recommended the IAAF not enforce the rules in the 1,500m and above, saying there is not enough evidence that high testosterone gives such women a competitive edge at those distances.
Semenya has run the fourth, sixth and eighth fastest times ever in the two-lap 800m race. But her rivals have complained about having to compete against someone with hyperandrogenism.