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Tracked: Caster Semenya's wins, & the IAAF's attempts to stop her

Since the Olympic medallist rose to fame, the IAAF has raised questions about what constitutes a legitimate woman competitor. Ahead of the Court of Arbitration for Sport's ruling on Wednesday, we track her rise, and the athletics body's problems with her participation.

FILE: Caster Semenya. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya is challenging the sport’s governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), over its decision to restrict testosterone levels in female runners.

The IAAF wants the South African and other female athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) to take testosterone blockers.

Eyewitness News unpacks the achievements and challenges faced by Semenya ahead of the decision on Wednesday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on her challenge to continue competing without any restrictions.

2008

  • July 2008
    Mokgadi Caster Semenya competes in the 2008 World Junior Championships in Poland and fails to advance passed the heat stage.

  • October 2008
    Semenya wins a gold medal in the 800m at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in India, with a time of 2:04.23.

2009

  • July 2009
    Semenya wins both the 800m and 1,500m races at the 2009 African Junior Championships in Mauritius, with times of 1:56.72 and 4:08.01 respectively. With that run, Semenya made history by breaking the senior and junior South African records held by Zelda Pretorius (1:58.85) and Zola Budd (2:00.90), respectively.

  • August 2009
    Semenya wins gold at the World Championships. Her time of 1:55.45 is the fastest of the year. Hours before the race, news leaks that the IAAF had conducted medical tests on her, which leads to her being declared ineligible to compete for 11 months. Later it is revealed that Athletics South Africa asked Semenya to have medical examinations.

World Championships gold medalist Caster Semenya received a heroes welcome at OR Tambo International Airport on 25 August, 2009. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

Gold medallist Caster Semenya received a heroes welcome at OR Tambo International Airport on 25 August 2009. Picture: EWN.

  • November 2009
    SA’s sports ministry says Semenya has reached an agreement with the IAAF to keep her medal and award, while remaining suspended.

  • December 2009
    Top industry magazine Track and Field News votes Semenya the number one women's 800m runner of the year.

2010

  • March 2010
    A frustrated Semenya arrives at a national track meeting in Stellenbosch and demands to run. The organisers, respecting the IAAF suspension, refuse.

  • July 2010
    In a short statement, the IAAF announces that Semenya is cleared to compete again against other women - nearly a year after her gold medal in Berlin.

  • August 2010
    Semenya wins the ISTAF meet in Berlin in a time of 1:59.90.

South Africa's Caster Semenya crosses the finish line to win the women's 800m competition during the ISTAF (Internationales Stadionfest) IAAF World Challenge on 22 August 2010 in Berlin. Picture: AFP.

Caster Semenya crosses the finish line to win the women's 800m competition during the ISTAF (Internationales Stadionfest) IAAF World Challenge on 22 August 2010 in Berlin. Picture: AFP.

2011

  • September 2011
    Semenya (likely while taking hormone medication) wins silver in the 800m at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, behind Russia's Mariya Savinova. After a difficult 2010, Semenya makes a modest return, only running 1:58.61 at the Bislett Games before the World Championships.

2012

  • July 2012
    Semenya is selected as South Africa’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in London. She wins a silver medal in the women’s 800m, with a time of 1:57.23 seconds.

FILE: Caster Semenya reacts after the women's 800m final at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 11 August 2012 in London. Picture: AFP.

Caster Semenya after the women's 800m final at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 11 August 2012 in London. Picture: AFP.

  • November 2012
    Semenya is awarded South African Sportswoman of the Year at the SA Sports Awards in Sun City.

2014

During 2014, Semenya's best time is 2:20.66, seven seconds slower than her personal best at the 2009 World Champs. She fails to qualify for the final of the 2015 World Championships, finishing last in her semi-final.

  • April 2014
    Semenya receives the bronze Order of Ikhamanga as part of Freedom Day festivities.

2015

  • July 2015
    Indian runner Dutee Chand opens up about her hyperandrogenism and challenges the IAAF on rules that limit women's naturally-occurring testosterone. She wins a temporary order, and the IAAF was told to drop the rules regulating testosterone. The CAS rules that there is a lack of evidence provided that testosterone increased female athletic performance and notified the IAAF that it had two years to provide the evidence.

Silver medallist India's Dutee Chand celebrate during the victory ceremony for the women's 100m athletics event during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 26, 2018. Picture: AFP.

FILE: Indian athlete Dutee Chand. Picture: AFP.

  • November 2015
    The World Anti-Doping Agency recommends Savinova and four other Russian athletes be given a lifetime ban for doping violations at the Olympics. On 10 February 2017, the CAS disqualifies Savinova's results backdated to July 2010. Semenya's silver is upgraded to gold.

2016

  • April 2016
    Semenya becomes the first person to win all three of the 400m, 800m, and 1500m titles at the South African National Championships - all within a nearly four-hour span of each other.

  • July 2016
    She sets a new national record for 800m of 1:55:33.

  • August 2016
    Semenya wins the gold medal in the women’s 800m at the Rio Olympics with a time of 1:55.28.

Gold medallist Caster Semenya poses on the podium for the Women's 800m Final during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  Picture: AFP

Gold medallist Caster Semenya poses on the podium for the Women's 800m final during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Picture: AFP

  • September 2016
    Semenya sets a new personal best for the 400m of 50:40 at the 2016 Memorial Van Damme track and field meet in Brussels.

2017

  • August 2017
    Semenya wins the bronze medal in the 1,500m at the 2017 World Championships in London. She also wins gold in the women's 800m.

2018

  • April 2018
    The IAAF announces new rules that require athletes with hyperandrogenism to take medication to lower their testosterone levels, effective November 2018. The changes only apply to athletes competing in the 400m, 800m, and 1,500m. Many observers think the rule change was designed specifically to target Semenya.

2019

  • February 2019
    Semenya goes to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne to challenge the IAAF's proposed rules forcing "hyper-androgynous" athletes to lower their testosterone. South Africa's Parliament threw its weight behind Semenya. MPs from across the political spectrum wore black golf T-shirts with messages of support including "we say NO to stigmatisation of women in sport", and "we oppose subtle hatred".

South African 800 metres Olympic champion Caster Semenya (C) and her lawyer Gregory Nott (R) arrive for a landmark hearing at the Court of Arbitration (CAS) in Lausanne on 18 February 2019. Picture: AFP.

Caster Semenya and her lawyer Gregory Nott (R) arrive for the hearing at the Court of Arbitration (CAS) in Lausanne on 18 February 2019. Picture: AFP.

  • March 2019
    The CAS delays its ruling until April because both sides had filed additional material since the hearing in February. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopts a resolution tabled by South Africa to defend athlete Semenya's rights to participate in sport.
    Semenya is honoured on Time's list of the '100 most influential people of 2019'.

  • April 2019
    Semenya wins the 1,500m and 5,000m races at the 2019 ASA Senior Track & Field and Combined Events Championships at the Germiston Athletics Stadium.