South African Olympic star Caster Semenya’s last-ditch bid to make the Tokyo Games was dealt a massive blow with the cancellation of the African athletics championships.
The African Athletics Championships were meant to take place in Nigeria from 23 to 27 June, about a month before the Tokyo games began.
However, with 46 days and counting to Tokyo, Semenya is still without a 5 000m Olympic qualifying time, the discipline she switched to after chancing her arm at the 200m dash last year.
According to IOL, Athletics South Africa (ASA) excellence manager Hezekiel Sepeng communicated to athletics provinces confirming the dreaded news of the continental event’s cancellation.
“Athletics South Africa has received communication from the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) confirming that the CAA African Senior Championships that were to take place in Lagos, Nigeria from 23-27 June 2021 has been cancelled,” said Sepeng.
Semenya, a double 800m Olympic gold medallist, was denied a chance to compete in her favourite event when governing body World Athletics enacted regulations prohibiting women with differences of sexual development (DSD) from competing in events ranging from 400m to the mile – unless they took hormone suppressors.
She refused to take the testosterone-suppressing drugs, which some doctors have warned to contain possible severe side-effects.
The 30-year-old took her challenge to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), where she failed to overturn the regulation and has since turned to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
She recently failed in her latest attempt to achieve a 5 000m qualifying time (15min10sec) when she clocked 15min32.15sec at a race in Durban last month.