Thu | Sep 21, 2017

London 2017 | Natoya Goule mum on Semenya controversy

Published:Friday | August 11, 2017 | 8:13 AM
Jamaica's Natoya Goule competing in her 800 metres heat at the IAAF World Championships in London yesterday.

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 hyperandrogenism, which means that she has excessive levels of testosterone in her body, which some argue gives her an unfair advantage over her opponents.

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. For her part, 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-finals.

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

 

SECOND TIME AROUND

 

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; and though she suggested that she has strong thoughts on the situation, Goule is - for now, keeping those close to her chest.

"No 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."

"I have to go out harder than a minute, that messed me up, If I had done 58 seconds then I would definitely have been in the top three for sure but they came down on the line and the other two girls passed me on the line which I am a little upset about but it's God's will," she added.

This is Goule's third straight failure to move past the first round in the 800m at a major international event after competing at the 2015 Beijing World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com