Caster Semenya is to go after a double individual gold medal tilt at next month's world championships in London after adding the 1,500 metres to her 800m entry, Athletics South Africa (ASA) said on Tuesday. The reigning Olympic 800m champion will also seek a third gold as part of the South African team for the 4x400m relays.
Semenya, who had to undergo gender testing before being cleared to compete as a woman after winning the world 800m title in 2009, raced to gold at the Rio Games in a time of 1:55.28.
She set a world-leading time of 1:55.27 last week in Monaco at the Diamond League meeting, which is also her personal best.
The 26-year-old has rarely raced in the 1,500m, but won the African title in Durban last year in 4:01.99 which allows her to enter the event in London.
The 1,500m heats are on the opening day of the championships on Aug. 4 with the final three days later, while the 800m heats start on Aug. 10.
South African double-double?
Semeya’s double bid follows the example of compatriot Wayde van Niekerk, who is seeking gold in the men’s 200m and 400m.
Semenya has had to contend with controversy throughout her career. After winning the 2009 world title as a 19-year-old, tests reportedly revealed that she is hyperandrogenous, resulting in her body producing an abnormally high amount of testosterone, which makes her more powerful than her rivals.
An International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rule limiting the amount of naturally occurring functional testosterone for female athletes appeared to have restricted Semenya's prospects but that rule was then quashed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).