Morocco race invite 'too late' for Caster Semenya – agent

Athlete Caster Semenya’s agent pointed out that it takes more than 20 hours to travel to Morocco from South Africa.

South African Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya competes at the ASA Senior Championships at Germiston Athletics stadium, in Germiston on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa on 26 April 2019. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Caster Semenya has been invited on Friday to run in an 800m race in Morocco on Sunday - after previously saying that she had been denied the right to participate in the event - but the invitation has come too late for her to get there, her agent said.

“She was invited today, but that was too late,” Jukka Harkonen told Reuters by phone. He pointed out that it takes more than 20 hours to travel to Morocco from South Africa.

Semenya’s lawyers said in a statement on Thursday that she was seeking clarity over this apparent “violation” of the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) order after her initial request to race in Rabat this weekend was denied by the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation, without reasons being given.

On Thursday Switzerland’s highest court rejected an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) request for eligibility regulations to be reimposed on Semenya.

IAAF regulations say XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) can only race in distances from 400m to a mile if they take medication to reduce their naturally occurring testosterone levels.

The SFT temporarily lifted the regulations affecting Semenya until 25 June but could extend that further after hearing submissions from the IAAF and Athletics South Africa over an appeal against a 1 May Court of Arbitration for Sport award upholding the rules.

The IAAF wanted the regulations reinstated against 28-year-old Semenya immediately, but this was rejected by the SFT, according to Semenya’s agent.