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Caster Semenya Signs for South African Football Club JVW; Eyeing Debut in 2020

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2019

STANFORD, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 30:  Caster Semenya of South Africa smiles after winning the women's 800m during the Prefontaine Classic at Cobb Track & Angell Field on June 30, 2019 in Stanford, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Two-time Olympic 800-metre gold medalist Caster Semenya is poised to test her athletic talents in a different field, as it was confirmed on Thursday she has signed for South African football club JVW.

Per Dejan Kalinic of Goal, the team confirmed in a statement that they had acquired the services of the 28-year-old.

"I am grateful for this opportunity and I appreciate the love and support I already get from the team," said Semenya upon agreeing to sign for the Gauteng-based team. "I am looking forward to this new journey, and hopefully I can contribute as much as I can to the club."

Football journalist Joe Crann shared the following snap of Semenya holding up her new side's jersey:

JVW's first team play in the top division of women's football in South Africa, the regionally divided Sasol League, and are owned by the country's women's national team captain, Janine van Wyk. 

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Per James Richardson of The South African, Van Wyk said she's hopeful Semenya will be able to make her debut for the team next year, when the league's transfer window opens:

"I am extremely elated to have such an iconic athlete join my football club. I am absolutely honoured that out of all the other women's clubs around the world, she has chosen JVW as the club where she would like to start showcasing her football skills. 

"I welcomed her at her first training with the team on Tuesday, and was impressed to see that she definitely has all the fundamentals. I look forward to her working with Coach Ciara [Picco] and our First Team where I am sure she will sharpen up and get ready to play in 2020."

Semenya's athletics career has been thrown into chaos of late, as she will not be allowed to compete at the World Championships in Doha, which begin on September 27.

It was deemed she must take a testosterone-reducing agent in order to compete, in line with new regulations regarding competitors with differences in sexual development. Per BBC Sport, Semenya has made two appeals to the IAAF to run without medication. 

After losing an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a fresh ruling by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court means Semenya will not be able to defend the world title she won in the 800 metres in London two years ago.

Semenya competed and won in May in the IAAF Diamond League in Doha:

After that success, the South African dismissed any suggestion she would be retiring from athletics, describing herself as a "young soul."

Semenya is not the only Olympic champion to try their hand on the football field. Following his retirement, eight-time sprinting gold medalist Usain Bolt pursued a career in the sport. 

Bolt was offered a contract by Australian side Central Coast Mariners following a trial period, but he left the club in November and confirmed two months later that his football adventure was over.