Stronger Caster not the young girl she was

2016-08-20 09:03
Caster Semenya (Getty Images)

Rio de Janeiro - The Olympic Games are winding down in Rio de Janeiro, but Saturday night (Sunday 02:15, SA time) provides one last blockbuster in the women's 800m final. 

It is a race that is hugely significant to South Africa with Caster Semenya the overwhelming favourite to win gold. 

Semenya is also the centre of a debate surrounding testosterone levels in female athletes.

That debate has gained more momentum than ever after IAAF president Sebastian Coe last week questioned the merits of a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision taken in July 2015 that put a stop to testosterone regulation in female athletes.

It has placed Semenya at the centre of the storm, and she is expected to face a barrage of questions from media on Saturday should she finish on the podium as expected. 

But SASCOC president Gideon Sam confirmed to Sport24 that he had been talking closely to Semenya over the past few days and that she seemed more than equipped to handle whatever comes her way.

"For us it’s a dead debate ... dead in the water," Sam said over the current controversy surrounding Semenya.

"We take that as one of the tricks to put her off.

"She said to me yesterday that she’s as strong as can be. She told me she was a young girl back then, and that they could get on top of her, but not now.

"She’ll get in there and run her race.

"There is no ‘lose’ in her vocabulary. She’s going to win.

"Everybody can talk afterwards and decide what they want to do but for us Saturday is a big day and she’s not going to be effected by all of this attention. I’m comfortable from what I’ve heard that she’s strong enough to pull through."

If Semenya does win a medal, it will be the 10th for South Africa in Rio.

Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...

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