Olympic Champion Caster Semenya Fails to Qualify for Tokyo Games in 5,000M

Adam WellsMay 28, 2021

South African long distance athlete Caster Semenya on her way to winning the 5,000 meters at the South African national championships in Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday, April 15, 2021. Semenya said she's likely to focus on long-distance events for the rest of her career. (AP Photo/Christiaan Kotze)
AP Photo/Christiaan Kotze

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya didn't qualify for the 5,000 meters at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Per BBC.com, Semenya finished Friday's qualifying race in 15 minutes, 32.15 seconds. The time limit for Olympic qualifying is 15 minutes, 10 seconds. 

The BBC noted this was Semenya's second attempt to qualify for the 2020 Games. She posted a time of 15:52.28 at an event last month. 

Semenya is the reigning two-time Olympic champion in the women's 800 meters. She won the 2016 gold with a time of 1:55.28, more than one second ahead of silver medal winner Francine Niyonsaba (1:56.49). 

Ever since her breakthrough at the 2009 World Championships, Semenya has been the subject of intense scrutiny and testing by World Athletics (the group formerly known as IAAF). 

Semenya, who has elevated levels of testosterone stemming from her hyperandrogenism, was made to undergo a sexual verification test in 2009.

The 30-year-old is currently embroiled in a legal fight with World Athletics over the organization's rule, adopted in 2018, that prevents her from running in the 400 meters, 800 meters and one-mile race without medically lowering her testosterone levels. 

The International Olympic Committee has set a June 29 qualifying deadline for athletes in most sports.