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Caster Semenya keeps her cool over planned revamp for hormone levels

Caster Semenya is also competing in the 800m at the world championships.
Caster Semenya is also competing in the 800m at the world championships. Reuters/Ivan Alvarado

Caster Semenya played down efforts on Monday night by track and field's governing body to change rules on naturally occurring testosterone in female athletes. Semenya shot to fame and notoriety after she won gold in the 800m at the Berlin world championships in 2009.


She claimed bronze on Monday night in the women’s 1500m. Faith Kipyegon from Kenya won gold just ahead of the American Jennifer Simpson.

As the reigning Olympic champion in 800m, Semenya is back in the spotlight following a study funded by the IAAF and the World Anti-Doping Agency that showed female athletes with naturally high levels of testosterone enjoy a competitive advantage of up to 4.5 percent over their rivals.

The 26-year-old South African was one of a number of women taking medication to lower her testosterone level until 2015 when the Court of Arbitration for Sport suspended an IAAF rule that enforced a limit on naturally occurring levels.

"Those are the things, the issues, that I don't focus on. It's not my business. It's their business," Semenya said. "Those are the writings that I've being seeing since 2009."

Questions were asked of her sex after her victory in Berlin. She spent 11 months on the sidelines while the IAAF conducted a study to verify her sex.

"Sometimes, you get annoyed or you get bored," she said of the saga. "For me, it's the past. Whoever deals with it, it's their business, not mine.

"I'm the kind of person who doesn't really focus on more negativity. I'm a positive person and I look at things in a positive way.

"I don't work for the IAAF. I'm Caster Semenya. I'm an athlete. I focus more on my future. For me, they do their job. I do my job."

When asked whether she would comply if the IAAF ruled that she once again take medication to lower her testosterone levels, she said: "I've no time for nonsense. Medication or no medication. For me, it's their own decisions. I really don't have time for nonsense."

Semenya’s next target will be reclaiming the 800m title she last won in Daegu in 2011.

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