Semenya on IAAF fight: It’s bigger than me

Caster Semenya’s victory could be her last over 800m before new IAAF rules governing testosterone levels come into operation on 8 May.

Caster Semenya celebrates after winning the women's 800m during the IAAF Diamond League competition on 3 May 2019 in Doha. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Caster Semenya broke her silence on Friday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled she must take medication to lower her naturally produced testosterone.

The two-time Olympic champion timed 1:54:98 to defeat Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba, who clocked 1min 57.75sec and Ajee Wilson of the United States in 1min 58.83sec.

On the sidelines of the race in Doha, her last 800m race before the controversial rules kick in, when asked by a journalist how she felt about people who were against her racing, she said: “this was the part of life”.

“It was an amazing race. When you open a stadium like this you must give people a show, so for me this is life,” said Semenya.

The new IAAF rules governing testosterone levels come into operation on 8 May.

When asked how she felt about continuing to race against those who did not want her to, Semenya said it was “bigger than her”.

“Actions speak louder than words. When you’re a great champion you always deliver,” Semenya told the BBC after setting a new meeting record.

“With me, life has been simple. I’m just here to deliver for the people who love and support me. I’m enjoying each and every moment of my life maybe because I have the love I need from my people.”

Asked if she intended to take the medication required to lower her testosterone levels, she later told reporters with a smile: “Hell no, that’s an illegal method.”

Additional reporting by AFP.