Caster Semenya to Race 3,000 Meters at 2019 Prefontaine Classic Against Loaded Field

By Jonathan Gault
May 20, 2019

In the two weeks following her 800-meter win at the Doha Diamond League on May 3, Caster Semenya‘s future plans have been the subject of much speculation. Following an unsuccessful appeal by Semenya to the Court of Arbitration of Sport, the IAAF’s Difference of Sexual Development (DSD) regulations went into effect on May 8, which means that Semenya and other intersex athletes with 46 XY DSDs cannot compete in international women’s events from 400 meters through the mile without keeping their testosterone levels below five nmol/L for a continuous six-month period.

Semenya said after her win in Doha that she does not plan on lowering her testosterone levels and that she plans on defending her 800-meter world title at this fall’s World Championships — but that’s not a possibility barring a court order overturning the IAAF’s regulations. She also said that she does not plan on competing in the 5,000 meters again, even though she won that event at the South African Championships in March, leaving limited options on the table for Semenya.

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Semenya winning the 800 at Pre in 2017

Well we know a little more about Semenya’s future plans as today meet organizers for the Prefontaine Classic announced that Semenya will compete in the women’s 3000 at this year’s meet that will be held at Stanford University on June 30th . Since the 3,000 falls outside of the range of “restricted events,” Semenya does not need to lower her testosterone in order to compete in the race.

The race marks uncharted territory at the pro level for Semenya, who has never competed in a Diamond League race this long. At the top level, Semenya has had success at 1500 meters, earning a bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships, a gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and a win at last year’s Doha Diamond League, but she has raced just two 3,000s in her career, both at small meets in South Africa. Her personal best, set at an elevation of 4,400 feet in Potchefstroom in 2017, is 9:36.29.

Semenya will face a difficult test at Pre as the rest of the field reads like a World Championship final, with seven women who have broken 8:30. Among the entrants: World Cross Country champion Hellen Obiri, World Indoor silver medalist Sifan Hassan, three-time World Indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba. There are two American entrants: 2018 USA 5,000 runner-up Rachel Schneider and reigning NCAA 5,000 champion Karissa Schweizer.

One more interesting name on the start list is Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana. The 10,000-meter world record holder and 2016 Olympic and 2017 world champion at that distance, Ayana has not raced a Diamond League since 2016. She ran just one track meet in 2017, the World Championships, and did not compete at all in 2018.

Full start list below:

Women’s 3000 Meters Personal Best
Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia) 8:16.60
Hellen Obiri (Kenya) 8:20.68
Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) 8:22.22
Sifan Hassan (Netherlands) 8:27.50
Lilian Kasait Rengeruk (Kenya) 8:29.02
Caroline Chepkoech Kipkurui (Kenya) 8:29.05
Konstanze Klosterhalfen (Germany) 8:29.89
Letesenbet Gidey (Ethiopia) 8:30.96
Senbere Teferi (Ethiopia) 8:32.49
Yasmin Can (Turkey) 8:33.29
Fantu Worku (Ethiopia) 8:39.55
Karissa Schweizer (USA) 8:41.60i
Laura Weightman (Great Britain) 8:43.46
Rachel Schneider (USA) 8:46.44i
Beatrice Chebet (Kenya) 8:49.05
Caster Semenya (South Africa) 9:36.29

MB: Caster Semenya will run the women’s 3000 at 2019 Prefontaine Classic

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