Rivals continue to voice concerns as reigning world champion returns to top form.
Returning to the track where she dominated the 800 meters at last summer’s World Championships in Berlin, South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya came from behind on Sunday to claim victory in her marquee event, running 1:59.90 to post her first sub-2:00 clocking of the season.
Although she’s been cleared to compete as a woman by the IAAF, the questions surrounding her gender still come up from her competitors.
“It’s obviously a human rights issue, but human rights affect everyone in the race, not just one person,” said Great Britain’s Jemma Simpson, who finished fourth behind Semenya on Sunday. “And for the rest of the field, it gets ignored.”
“It is certainly frustrating to run against somebody who seems to be doing it effortlessly,” added Diane Cummins of Canada, who finished eighth on Sunday.
Semenya has long encountered questions about her gender, but those questions were magnified after last summer’s dominating victory against the best female middle-distance runners in the world. Semenya is trying to put the speculation and criticisms behind her in an effort to focus on running fast.
“I did not think about everything that happened after my gold medal,” Semenya said. “I just concentrated on my race and on my time. My goal was to run under two minutes, and I achieved my goal.”
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