Athletics

Caster Semenya Claims She Was Stopped From Running In Morocco Diamond League

Caster Semenya Claims She Was Stopped From Running In Morocco Diamond League

Caster Semenya has denied claims from event organisers that she declined an invitation to run the 800m in the Diamond League meeting in Morocco, saying that the organisers made it impossible for her to take part.

Olympic Champion Semenya is currently embroiled in a legal case with the IAAF, who are trying to force athletes such as the South African to take medication in order to lower her testosterone levels. They had ruled that she would no longer be able to unmedicated, a decision that was overturned by a Swiss court last month.

That has allowed Semenya to compete for the time being, but she will not take part in the Moroccan event tomorrow.

The athlete's lawyers have released a statement explaining why she will not be taking part, claiming that it was made impossible for her to run:

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Different from what the Athletes' Liaison for the Moroccan Athletics Federation, Alain Blondel, has suggested, Caster Semenya did not decline an invitation to run the 800m in Rabat. The Federation made it impossible for her to participate.

On June 7, 2019, Caster accepted an invitation from the Federation to run in Rabat on June 16. She made the necessary arrangements and was booked to fly from Paris to Rabat on June 12.

On June 11, Alain Blondel 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.

On June 13 her lawyers requested from the Federation the reasons for the rejection and followed up by telephone multiple times on June 14 without receiving an answer.

On June 14, 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.

Against this background, Caster rejects any suggestion that she declined a proper invitation to run in Rabat. To the contrary, her inability to run in Rabat is solely due to the Moroccan Federations sudden and unjustified withdrawal of its initial invitation that Caster had gladly accepted.

This latest event is sure to add fuel to the fire around her legal battle with the IAAF, with the case sure to rage on for a number of months.

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Gary Connaughton

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