Caster Semenya did what everyone expected her to do when she won the women’s 800m event at the Doha Diamond League on Friday. She won. Classy and cool as ice, Semenya stormed to a meeting record of 1:54:98 (rounded down).
Just days after losing her appeal against discriminatory IAAF regulations which will require female athletes in certain events to take performance limiting substances if they wish to compete, it was business as usual for the double-Olympic champion.
In the last decade since first being thrown into the
spotlight, Semenya as learned to handle the media with poise. Always polite,
but with the perfect dose of snark, she did so again on the sidelines at Doha.
She answered the same questions over and over. The race
might have been her last in the 800 m distance.
Asked if she intended to take hormone-suppressing treatment, she said:
“Hell no. No way.
“I don’t know what will happen next. But no-one should tell me what to do, if people want to stop me from doing something that’s their problem, not mine.”
It’s not been confirmed whether Semenya and her legal team
will appeal the decision handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport
(CAS), but she has remained defiant since the verdict was announced.
The rules will come into effect next Wednesday and will
apply to athletes competing in races over distances of 400m to the mile.
After the Doha meeting, she insisted that her goal is to
defend her world title later in the year. She told reporters: “This is all
about inspiring the world. This is more than a game, more than sports. This is
about human dignity, human pride. What you do if you’re inspiring the world.
“People fight me, I don’t fight them. I live life and I enjoy it.”
“In September, of course, my main goal is to defend my title! But I am a crazy athlete, who goes from one race to another (from 400m to 5 000m) and I will continue.”
That response and saying she will not be taking medication
suggestions that an appeal might be brewing. Then, there is this. Semenya’s swagger and snark is a breath of
fresh air in an era of platitudes. She told reporters that if anyone stands in
her way “I jump you” and even threw a clapback at Donald Trump in the
Watch: Semenya says “I jump you” after Doha win
— Ntombi Nako (@ntombi_nako) May 3, 2019