Caster Semenya has switched her focus to women’s 200m and is hoping to make it to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Semenya, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games 800m champion, is unable to defend her title because of World Athletics’ rules on differences of sexual development.
In a statement, described as breaking new by Semenya on Friday, the South African said: “My dream has always been and will continue to be, to compete at the highest level of sport, and so in order to pursue my goals and dreams, I have decided to change events, and compete in the 200m.”
Semenya is likely to face Jamaicans Elaine Thompson, the defending sprint double champion, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, along with Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith in the 200m.
Semenya’s 200m personal best is 24.26.
“Ever since I saw the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on television, I have known that I want to compete on the Olympic stage,” the South African said in an Instagram post.
“My first international 800m medal came as a junior at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in India, and over the next 11 years, I have won gold at every major international competition including the Olympic Games, World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Diamond League and African Championships.
“However, as you are all aware, I am unable to compete in the 800m and defend my title at the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year.
“My dream has always been, and will continue to be, to compete at the highest level of sport, and so in order to pursue my goals and dreams, I have decided to change events, and compete in the 200m.
“This decision has not been an easy one, but as always, I look forward to the challenge, and will work hard, doing all I can to qualify for Tokyo and compete to the best of my ability for South Africa.
“Thank you to my team who have supported me over the past few months, and thank you to all South Africans who believe in me and stand behind me.”
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