Olympic champion Caster Semenya said on Sunday she would not defend her world title in Doha next September if she could not run in the 800 meters because of new testosterone regulations imposed by the sport’s governing body.
“If I am not running 800 meters, I’m not running in the world championships,” the 28-year-old South African said after winning her favorite event in one minute, 55.70 at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting.
“No 1,500 (meters), nothing. I am just going to take a vacation, and then come (back to competing) next year.”
But Semenya, who is challenging International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) testosterone rules that could affect her career, is looking towards the next three Olympics.
“I expect to be in Tokyo, Paris and Los Angeles,” she said
The South African repeated that she would not take medication to satisfy the IAAF regulations, which are currently on hold for her after a court ruling.
Under the rules, XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs), like Semenya, must take medication to lower their natural testosterone levels if they are to compete at distances from 400m to a mile.
Testosterone is a hormone that increases muscle mass, strength and hemoglobin and the IAAF said its own research showed it gave a significant endurance advantage to athletes in the 400 meters to mile range.
Semenya has refused to take the medication, saying: “I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete. The IAAF will not drug me or stop me from being who I am.”
But the South African said that even if she eventually lost her case, she planned to continue competing.
“There are a lot of races that I can do, there are a lot of stuff that I can do,” she said.
“I am a talented athlete. I can play football (soccer), I can play basketball, I can do anything, I can run 100, I can run 200, I can run the steeple(chase), I can do anything I want.”
But the first objective is to win her case against the IAAF regulations.
“This is like a legal battle,” Semenya said. “It’s like war. You don’t give up. You beat me today, I beat you tomorrow.
“But I am not doing this for me. I am a world champion, I have achieved everything I ever wanted.
“At the end of the day I am doing this for those who can’t fight for themselves.”