Goule mum on Semenya controversy

August 11, 2017
Kenya's Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon (centre), celebrates as she wins the gold medal in the final of the Woman's 1500m during the World Athletics Championships in London, yesterday. Others from left are: South Africa's Caster Semenya, bronze, Britain's Laura Muir and United States' Jennifer Simpson, silver. (AP Photo)

LONDON, England:

South Africa's Caster Semenya has been at the centre of a controversial gender debate that has dogged international athletics for the past few years.

Semenya, the two-time Olympic and World champion, has excessive levels of testosterone in her body, which some argue gives her an unfair advantage.

The sport's governing body - the IAAF, has aggressively tried to reinstate a rule which limited the levels of testosterone a female athlete would be allowed to have in their bodies after the Court of Arbitration for Sport suspended the rule for a two year period in July 2015.

Semenya has largely ignored the debate throughout these championships. Jamaican 800m athlete Natoya Goule did likewise after facing Semenya during yesterday's heats at the World Championships at the London Stadium.

Goule, who set the pace in the contest before being passed at the 750m mark, eventually ending up fifth in 2:01.77 and out of the qualifying spots to the semi-final.

Semenya eased to the win in 2:01.33 and is the overwhelming favourite for gold.

This was Goule's second race against Semenya, after their Diamond League meeting in Doha at the beginning of the season - Semenya also winning there.

"It's not to hard to ignore it (gender debate). Once you focus on yourself and your goals, then there is no problem," she said before declining to give her thoughts on the topic.

"I'd really rather not say. I would like to say but I'd rather not," she smiled.

Turning her attention to the race, Goule blamed her slow first lap as the reason for her finish, noting that she needed to run in the region of 58 seconds on the first 400m.

"I think I went out on a decent pace but it was too slow ... It's something I have to work on," said Goule. "I went out on a good pace but the second 200m is where I fell short."

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