1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Caster Semenya set to miss Tokyo Olympics

May 28, 2021

The double Olympic champion is banned from competing at her preferred 800-meter distance due to high testosterone levels. Semenya has switched to 5,000 meters but failed to meet the qualifying time at a race in Durban.

Caster Semenya
Semenya seems certain to miss the Tokyo Olympics.Image: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

Caster Semenya failed in her latest bid to qualify for this year's Tokyo Olympics on Friday, finishing well outside the required time for the 5,000 meters.

The South African, who twice won gold over 800 meters in 2012 and 2016, is banned from running over her preferred distance after World Athletics ruled in 2018 that women with high natural testosterone levels must take medication to reduce them in order to compete in middle-distance races.

Semenya has steadfastly refused to take any such medication to alter her testosterone levels and is challenging the ruling.

Missed by 22 seconds 

As a result, she targeted the 5000-meter race as her best chance to compete in Tokyo but a bid to finish inside the qualifying mark failed at a meeting in Durban on Friday.

The race was specially arranged to offer her an opportunity of heading to the Japanese capital but she finished in 15:32.15 seconds, more than 22 seconds outside the required qualifying time of 15 minutes and 10 seconds.

The 30-year-old continues to challenge the sport's governing body's ruling and has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights but an outcome is unlikely before the Tokyo Games are scheduled to begin on July 23.

Tokyo Olympics: 80% back cancellation

jsi/msh (Reuters, AFP)