Semenya wins 5,000m title, Nierkerk withdraws

Semenya, who comfortably won a 1,500m heat earlier in the day, did not speak to the media after her 5,000m triumph
South Africa's Caster Semenya
South Africa’s Caster Semenya reacts after winning the women’s 800 metres during the IAAF Diamond League “Weltklasse” athletics meeting at the Letzigrund stadium in Zurich on August 30, 2018. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Caster Semenya won the South African 5,000m title on Thursday but refused to discuss next week’s ruling on whether or not athletes’ testosterone levels should be regulated in a landmark case which could seriously impact her career.

Semenya, the reigning Olympic 800m champion, is set to learn her fate next week after challenging the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) female track/field eligibility rules at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The South African wants a proposed rule change, which would force athletes with “differences of sexual development” (DSD) to keep testosterone levels below a prescribed amount, scrapped.

The proposed rule would apply only to female athletes competing in distances between 400m and a mile.

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Semenya, who comfortably won a 1,500m heat earlier in the day, did not speak to the media after her 5,000m triumph achieved in a time of 16 minutes 05.97 seconds. 

Meanwhile, world 400m record-holder Wayde van Niekerk, who recently recovered from a knee injury, withdrew from the championships.

“It’s been quite a cold week, and I think it has built up over the last few days and I woke a bit tight and uncomfortable, so we decided not to take any risks,” Van Niekerk said.

“I feel in good shape, and I feel capable of competing against the guys, but there is a long year awaiting and I want to make sure I can compete internationally.”

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The 26-year-old defending world champion injured a knee during a celebrity touch rugby match in Cape Town two years ago. 

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