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With court verdict looming, Semenya wins double at nationals

April 26, 2019

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Caster Semenya has completed a 1,500 and 5,000-meter double at the South African national championships just days before a sports court decision that could shape the rest of her career is expected.

Semenya, the two-time Olympic 800-meter champion, won the 1,500 meters at Germiston Athletics Stadium on Friday in 4 minutes, 13.61 seconds. Running in the dark blue vest of her provincial team, she finished more than 100 meters ahead of her nearest challenger.

Semenya won the 5,000 on Thursday in a modest time of 16:05.97, but it was only her second competitive 5,000-meter race. She has now won South African titles in the 400, 800, 1,500 and 5,000 meters having won an unprecedented treble — the 400, 800 and 1,500 — in 2016.

Semenya’s decision to run the 5,000 this year — she chose not to run her favored two-lap race — may be significant.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected to release a decision on Monday or Tuesday in Semenya’s case against the IAAF. It involves the track and field body’s proposed rules that would require Semenya and other female athletes with high levels of natural testosterone to lower them through medication or surgery to be eligible to compete in certain races at top meets like the Olympics and world championships. The rules would apply to events from 400 meters to one mile.

Semenya is challenging the rules. If she loses the case, she would be able to compete in the 5,000 meters without lowering her testosterone levels.

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