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Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba, who cannot race the 800m distance due to the Caster Semenya rule where she must take testosterone-suppressing medication, ran an Olympic qualifying time in the 5000m, on Tuesday.
Niyonsaba clocked 14:54.38 at a meet in Montreuil, France. The Olympic standard is 15:10. She is the 2016 Rio Olympic 800m silver medallist.
Semenya on the other hand raced a 5,000m on Friday, May 28 at a race in South Africa but only managed a 15:32.15 run. It was a 20-second personal best, however, the performance is not fast enough to qualify her for the Tokyo Olympics.
During the 2016 Rio Olympic Games 800m final, Semenya, Niyonsaba, and suspected intersex athlete Margaret Wambui went 1-2-3. Canada’s Melissa Bishop-Ngiaru finished fourth. Bishop-Nriagu will be competing in the 800m in Tokyo.
A challenge is not a barrier. It’s an opportunity to do better. Heading to Tokyo with a great qualifying time of 14.54.38 (PB) in 5k#nevergiveup #PB #NationalRecord #RoadtoTokyo2021 #determination #mentalforce#meetingmonteuil2021 pic.twitter.com/gcQqnOMw6b— Francine Niyonsaba (@FrancineNiyons4) June 2, 2021
Semenya twice has been ordered to take medication to lower her naturally high levels of testosterone. Both times she was unsuccessful in appealing the rulings.
Semenya lost her latest appeal which was heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as well as the Swiss Supreme Court.
Her lawyer Gregory Nott told Agence France-Presse they are preparing the paperwork for a case at the European Court of Human Rights, which will not be heard in time for her to qualify for Tokyo.