Deprived of the 800m at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, Francine Niyonsaba and Caster Semenya have decided to compete in the 5,000m to hope for qualification. The Burundian athlete has qualified for this summer’s Games in Japan, while the South African remains in limbo.
According to World Athletic, Francine Niyonsaba and Caster Semenya are affected by sexual developmental differences (SDD) and have been excluded from the 800m race at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games. Both athletes decided to compete in the 5,000m in the hope of qualifying. Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba has thus validated her ticket for this summer’s event in Japan, but South Africa’s Caster Semenya is still trying her luck over this distance.
Only three options were available to the two athletes to be able to participate in the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games. They could either lower their testosterone levels or run the sprint events (100m and 200m), or enter the 1000m+ races. It is quite natural that they turned to the 5000m. Burundian Francine Niyonsaba, 28, succeeded in the Montreuil meeting, with a time of 14 minutes 54 seconds 38.
In contrast, Caster Semenya is still trying to qualify for Tokyo. The two-time Olympic champion has run three 5000m races this year. The world champion in the 800m has nevertheless improved significantly. In her first race, she clocked 16 minutes 14 seconds 43 in March. At the South African Athletics Championships in April, Semenya’s time was 15 minutes 52 seconds 28.
Caster Semenya continues to improve in her third race in Durban on 27 May. The South African improved her time to 15 minutes 32 seconds 15. Semenya can still hope to participate in the Olympics, by trying to achieve a better time.