Caster Semenya wins 5,000m gold at South African Athletics Championships

Caster Semenya running the 5,000m at the South African National Championships
Caster Semenya (right) was asked to undertake gender testing as an 18-year-old

Caster Semenya won 5,000m gold at the South African Athletics Championships - a new distance that would not require her to lower her testosterone levels.

The double 800m Olympic gold medallist is challenging athletics' governing body over its regulation restricting testosterone levels in female runners.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is due to deliver a verdict on Semenya's appeal by the end of April.

Semenya, 28, also cruised into Friday's 1500m final.

Under IAAF rules, female athletes with naturally high testosterone levels would have to race against men or change events unless they took medication to reduce those levels.

The regulations will apply to women in track events from 400m up to one mile and require athletes to keep their testosterone levels below a prescribed amount "for at least six months prior to competing".

Semenya has previously been asked to undertake gender testing by athletics chiefs, but no results have officially been made public.

Speaking at the championships, Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk said: "She's fighting for something beyond just track and field; she's fighting for women in sports [and] in society.

"I will support her and, with the hard work and talent that she's been putting into the sport, with what she believes in and what she's dreaming for, I've got a lot of respect for her.

"I really hope and pray that everything just goes from strength to strength for her."

Semenya beat Olympian and defending national 5,000m champion Dominique Scott at the championships, winning in a time of 16 minutes 05.97 seconds.

However, Scott said she was unsure if Semenya could be a serious Olympic contender over the longer distance.

"Honestly‚ I have no idea‚" said the 26-year-old. "Before today, I probably would have said no. It's hard to compare a 5,000 at altitude to a 5,000 at sea level.

"But I think she's an amazing runner and I don't think there's any limit or ceiling on what she can do."

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