Caster says Moroccan boss tried to bar her from Rabat Diamond League

South Africa's Caster Semenya wins the women's 800m.
Caster Semenya South Africa's Caster Semenya wins the women's 800m.
Image: REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Caster Semenya has rejected the claim by the Rabat Diamond League organisers that she had declined their invitation to compete there, saying they had first barred her from taking part and then allowed her when it was too late.

Semenya has been allowed to compete freely since the Federation Supreme Court of Switzerland ordered the IAAF to suspend its gender eligibility regulations during her appeal.

The Olympic 800m champion said in a statement on Saturday night she had planned to run the 800m in Rabat, but her invitation was withdrawn without explanation.

She had accepted an invitation from the Moroccan Athletics Federation on June 7 and she had made arrangements to fly there from Paris on June 12.

“On June 11 Alain Blondel [athletes’ liaison for the federation] suddenly informed Caster’s agent that the president of the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation did not want Caster to run.

“Frustrated by this unjustified and belated rejection, Caster had no choice but to return to South Africa.”

Semenya’s lawyers requested reasons for the rejection from the federation on Thursday and Friday, but received no answer.

“On [Friday] the federation changed course once again and told Caster’s agent that Caster was re-invited to run on June 16.

“At that time, the only flights to Rabat would have involved 20 hours of travel, which meant that competing in the event was not rationally possible for Caster.”

Blondel was subsequently quoted as saying that Semenya had declined their invitation. Athletics SA (ASA) president Aleck Skhosana has previously criticised other African federations for not supporting them in their fight against the IAAF regulations.

The rules require athletes with differences of sex development (DSD) to take medication to lower their high levels of naturally occurring testosterone.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland ruled in favour of the IAAF, but Semenya is appealing the decision.

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