Semenya to switch to 200m ahead of Tokyo Olympics

The Olympic 800m champion is not allowed to defend her title under new World Athletics rules

Last Updated: 13/03/20 8:21pm

South Africa's Caster Semenya set to switch events in a bid to compete at 2020 Olympics
South Africa’s Caster Semenya set to switch events in a bid to compete at 2020 Olympics

Caster Semenya could go head-to-head with Dina Asher-Smith at the Tokyo Olympics after the South African announced her intention to switch events from the 800m to the 200m.

Under World Athletics rules, the Olympic 800m Champion is prohibited from competing in events between 400m and a mile without taking testosterone-reducing drugs.

However, the rule does not apply over shorter distances and the 29-year-old says she will switch her target to a distance in which British star Asher-Smith was crowned world champion in Doha last year.

Dina Asher-Smith celebrates her World 200m title in Doha
Dina Asher-Smith celebrates her World 200m title in Doha

In a statement posted on her Instagram page, Semenya wrote: “My dream has always been, and will continue to be, to compete at the highest level of sport and so in order to pursue my goals and dreams I have decided to change events and compete in the 200m.

Caster Semenya celebrates winning the Olympic Gold 800m title in Rio in 2016
Caster Semenya celebrates winning the Olympic Gold 800m title in Rio in 2016

“This decision has not been an easy one but as always I look forward to the challenge and will work hard, doing all I can to qualify for Tokyo and compete to the best of my ability for South Africa.

“Thank you to my team who have supported me over the past few months and thank you to all South Africans who believe in me and stand behind me.”

Semenya has rejected the IAAF’s conclusion that without taking the now-required medication, she would have an unfair “competitive advantage” over the longer distance.

Source : Sky Sports