Caster Semenya competes for the first time since IAAF's new controversial rules
Newly crowned Commonwealth Games 800m and 1500m champion Caster Semenya will kick off her Diamond League campaign in the longer event in Doha on Friday evening‚ lining up as favourite in a field missing the world’s best.
Semenya is competing for the first time since the world governing body‚ the IAAF‚ announced it was introducing new regulations limiting athletes with hyperandrogenism competing internationally from the 400m to the mile.
The rules‚ which will kick in late in the year‚ are widely considered controversial.
Semenya‚ the Olympic and world 800m champion‚ was third in the 1500m at the world championships in London last year.
But the field in Qatar will feature neither Olympic and world champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya nor Jennifer Simpson‚ the American who took the Olympic bronze and world championship silver.
Simpson is racing in the 3‚000m‚ going up against the likes of Hellen Obiri‚ Kenya’s 5‚000m world champion.
In terms of personal bests‚ only Winny Chebet of Kenya and Ethiopia’s Besu Sado have been faster than Semenya‚ but neither made it to the world championship final last year.
Chebet did her 3min 59.16sec best in Rome last year‚ while Sado clocked her 3:59.47 in Zurich in 2016.
Semenya set her 4:00.71 South African mark winning in Gold Coast last month.
Semenya is one of several South Africans in action on Friday.
Carina Horn‚ who recently broke the national 100m mark‚ goes up against Dafne Schippers as well as Ivorians Murielle Ahoure and Marie-Josee Ta Lou in the straight sprint.
Cornel Fredericks competes in the 400m hurdles‚ veteran Khotso Mokoena in the triple jump and Pieter Conradie in the 400m.
The meet will be broadcast on SuperSport7 from 6pm.