Caster Semenya wins 800m in Doha and fends off retirement talk

first_imgShare on Messenger news Read more Since you’re here… Caster Semenya Is fair play in running more important than fairness to Caster Semenya as a human? First the South African Olympic champion powered away from the field to claim her 30th consecutive 800m victory in 1min 54.98sec – the third-fastest of her career and the eighth-quickest outdoors of all time. Then, when she was asked whether she would ever take testosterone-suppressing medication to keep racing at events ranging from 400m to a mile, she was just as strong. “Hell no,” she said.“Actions speak louder than words,” Semenya added. “When you are a great champion, you always deliver. No man, or any other human, can stop me from running.”Where the 800m Olympic champion goes next, however, is not entirely clear. Afterwards she confirmed she had no plans to retire in the aftermath of the court of arbitration for sport’s decision against her, or to step up to 5,000m. She also insisted she plans to run at the world championships in the autumn and still has 10 years in the sport. “It doesn’t matter how I’m going to do it. What matters is I’ll still be here,” she said.That surely means she is planning an appeal against Cas’s verdict – and hoping for a speedy resolution. Whether she gets it is another matter.On the track Semenya, however, did what she always does, slipping effortlessly on to the shoulder of her pacemaker before stretching out her rivals and then, halfway through the second lap, blasting them out of sight.The pace was a lightning quick 56.66sec through 400m, with only Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba having the speed to go with Semenya. Yet she, too, was left flailing as the South African picked up speed to win by about 20 metres. Far, far, far behind her was Britain’s Lynsey Sharp who was ninth in 2:01:51.Semenya celebrated by throwing her flowers into the crowd before posing for photographs with a big thumbs-up sign and smile. After all she has gone through this week it was reassuring to see her happy again. Share on WhatsApp Athletics Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. After an extraordinary week came a staggering performance. If this was Caster Semenya’s final race over 800m, it was a perfect reminder of her dominance and her determination. … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. 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Topics Support The Guardian Share on Twitter Share via Email Share on Pinterest Read more Gaby Hinsliff Share on LinkedIn Meanwhile, Sharp revealed afterwards that she had received death threats as a result of previous comments she had made about Semenya’s “advantage”. “I’ve known Caster since 2008. It’s something I’ve been familiar with over the past 11 years,” she said. “No one benefits from this situation – of course she doesn’t benefit, but it’s not me versus her, it’s not us versus them.“I’ve had death threats. I’ve had threats against my family and that’s not a position I want to be in. It’s really unfortunate the way it’s played out. By no means am I over the moon about this. It’s just been a long 11 years for everyone.”Elsewhere in Doha, Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith started her 2019 campaign in impressive style by destroying a decent field in 22.26sec at 200 metres. But in the men’s 200m Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake made a stuttering start to his season as he finished sixth behind the world and European champion, Ramil Guliyev of Turkey.Perhaps the most impressive performance of the day came from the 17-year-old Ukrainian Yaroslava Mahuchikh, who became the youngest ever woman Diamond League event winner, clearing 1.96m in the high jump to tie the under-17 record.Meanwhile Jama Aden, the controversial coach who is under investigation for doping by Spanish police, has denied claims that he was at the root of last week’s extraordinary spat between Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie.Gebrselassie had alleged that his row with Farah began when the British star took exception to Aden being refused entry to Gebrselassie’s hotel near Addis Ababa – a claim furiously denied by Farah. Aden, who called British Athletics an “unofficial facilitator” for Farah when he trained in Ethiopia in 2015, said his last meeting with the British star was before the police raid.“It is not true what Haile says,” he said. “It is lies. The last contact I had with Mo was in 2016. I’m pissed off with all these stories.” Reuse this content Share on Facebook Caster Semenya ruling ‘tramples on dignity’ of athletes, South Africa sayslast_img