Brenda Martinez on the Intersex Controversy at the 800 at the Olympics: “I think it worked out to my benefit where I’m not running the 8 because it’s Caster (Semenya), it’s Francine (Niyonsaba), it’s (Margaret) Wambui”

July 29, 2016

EUGENE, Ore. — Brenda Martinez was 120 meters from possibly making her first Olympic team when she got caught up in Alysia Montaño’s fall at the Olympic Trials in the 800m. That made her the fan favorite in Eugene when she came back to run the 1500m later at the Trials. Martinez ended up making the Olympic team in the 1500m on the final day of the Trials by the small margin of .03.

On Friday, Martinez will get a shot for some 800m redemption in Eugene at the inaugural TrackTown Summer Series. Martinez will have her hands full with Canadian record holder and Worlds silver medallist Melissa Bishop (1:57.43) in a very good match-up (preview here).

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Martinez is ready to try to lower her season’s best of 1:59.64 (her pb is 1:57.91) and says the training isn’t that different for her whether she’s racing the 800 or the 1500 as she does “multi-pace training.” The main difference for her is the “mindset.”

With some reflection, Martinez said not running the 800m at the Olympics might be best. She said, “I think it worked out to my benefit where I’m not running the 8 because it’s Caster (Semenya), it’s Francine (Niyonsaba), it’s (Margaret) Wambui now” (whose form all improved dramatically since Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled last year hyperandrogenic women do not need to lower their testosterone to compete versus other women). She added, “Last year when they had it under control she (Caster Semenya) couldn’t break 2 minutes and now she’s running 1:55…. They all (IOC, WADA) have to get a handle on it.”

Martinez also clarified her comments from the Olympic Trials where she said of Semenya competing at the Olympics, “I don’t think anyone should be denied. It’s just not fair, that’s not what our sport’s about. Yeah, she’s different, but that’s not her fault. I like her, I respect her, I do want to race her.”

Martinez reiterated that Semenya should be allowed to compete but she should also have to lower her testosterone levels. Martinez said, “They also should force her to keep her hormone levels down.”

While Martinez won’t have the intersex controversy in the 1500 at the Olympics, she will possibly race 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, who was staying at a hotel in Spain when it was raided by police and anti-doping authorities and reportedly doping products were found and believed to be associated with her coach Jama Aden.

Now it’a waiting game for Martinez as nothing has been announced from the doping investigation. “I don’t know if certain people are going to show up (at the Olympics)” she said.

We do know that Melissa Bishop and Martinez will show up on Friday in Eugene and the fans should see a great race.

“It’s about chasing a fast time…. maybe a season’s best, maybe a pb, you never know. I’m feeling snappy,” said Martinez who runs for New Balance and could get kicked out of the Olympics if she said that because Rule 40 is now underway.

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