Track and Field

Caster Semenya to avoid testosterone test running 3,000m at Prefontaine Classic

Caster Semenya will compete in the 3,000 metres at the Diamond League's Prefontaine Classic on June 30 in Stanford, Calif., a distance she can race without reducing her testosterone levels.

2-time Olympic champion adamant she won't take medication required for 800 race

Caster Semenya of South Africa will be able to duck testosterone testing by running the 3,000 metres at the Prefontaine Classic on May 3. Under the IAAF's new regulations, female runners with high natural levels of testosterone must take medication to race the 800, Semenya's signature event. (Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Caster Semenya will compete in the 3,000 metres at the Diamond League's Prefontaine Classic on June 30 in Stanford, Calif., a distance she can race without reducing her testosterone levels.

Semenya, who twice has won Olympic gold in the 800, has been adamant that she will not take medication to lower her testosterone levels to comply with new International Association of Athletics Federations rules.

The race will be her first since the new rules went into effect.

Under the new regulations, female athletes with high natural levels of testosterone wishing to compete in events from the 400 to a mile must medically limit that level to under 5 nmol/L, double the normal female range under 2 nmol/L.

Barring an appeal, Semenya can no longer compete in her specialist event after she lost her appeal against the new rules, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport stating the regulations were necessary to ensure fair competition.

Formidable field

The flat 3,000 is not contested at the Olympic Games, but a steeplechase over the distance is on the list of events.

Semenya has a personal best of nine minutes 36.29 seconds in the flat 3,000, the slowest of the runners in the Prefontaine Classic, with 2018 world indoor 1,500 and 3,000 champion Genzebe Dibaba the quickest at 8:16.60.

Semenya will form part of a formidable field at the Prefontaine Classic that also includes world 5,000 champion Hellen Obiri and 2016 world indoor 1,500 gold medallist Sifan Hassan.

"It was a request from Caster Semenya's agent asking if she could run a 3,000," meet director Tom Jordan told Reuters. "Of course we said yes."

The event is sponsored by Nike, which has Semenya in its stable of athletes.

I will switch races when I want to — no man can tell me what to do.— Caster Semenya on running the 3,000 metres to avoid testosterone testing

Semenya became South African national champion in the 5,000 in April, but is some way off the leading runners in the world over that distance.

Semenya cruised to victory in 1:54.98 — nearly three seconds ahead of Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi — in her most recent 800 on May 3 at the Diamond League meet in Doha, Qatar.

WATCH | Semenya dominates 1st event since CAS ruling:

Caster Semenya wins final 800m race before new testosterone rules take effect

3 years ago
Duration 6:19
South Africa's Caster Semenya won the opening Diamond League women's 800 metre race in Doha. It's the final race before new rules take effect that would force Semenya to lower her testosterone levels for the 800 or 1,500 metre races at major events.
"I'm a crazy athlete, I switch events like hell but, yeah, 800 metres is my calling, I believe in it, and that's what I want to do," she said after winning in Doha.

"I will switch races when I want to — no man can tell me what to do. I'm here for a purpose, if I want to switch events I switch them, but if someone wants me to switch them, that's their own problem, not mine.

"I'm a power athlete; I can run from 100 metres to 5 kilometres, so I can run any race I want."

The Prefontaine Classic is being staged in Stanford this year while a new stadium is built in Eugene, Oregon for the 2021 track and field world championships.


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