Caster Semenya Arrested for Speeding

CAPE TOWN, South Africa—Olympic champion Caster Semenya was sentenced to 50 hours of community service for speeding while driving in South Africa, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The runner was arrested last Thursday and released on $35 bail, the National Prosecuting Authority said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Semenya appeared in court in the capital, Pretoria, on Friday and pleaded guilty to the offense, the NPA said.

She faces a second court hearing in August when authorities will report back on whether she completed her community service.

The 30-year-old Semenya is a two-time Olympic and three-time world champion over 800 meters whose career has been halted by contentious rules regulating the natural level of testosterone in female runners.

World Athletics won’t allow Semenya and other women with similarly high levels of natural testosterone to compete at any major international events in races from 400 meters to one mile unless they agree to artificially reduce their hormone levels to below a specific threshold.

WA says their high levels of natural testosterone give them an unfair advantage over other female runners.

Semenya has refused to follow the rules and lost two legal appeals against them, one at the sport’s highest court in Switzerland in 2019 and the second at the Swiss supreme court in 2020.

Her lawyers announced in February she would continue her fight against the regulations, which she’s called discriminatory, at the European Court of Human Rights.

That’s seen as a last-ditch legal challenge and there’s unlikely to be a hearing before the Tokyo Olympics start in July, meaning Semenya will almost certainly be unable to defend her title.

Semenya hasn’t run a top-level 800 meters race for two years.

She’s recently switched to unfamiliar long-distance events but has had limited success. She won the 5,000 meters at the South African nationals last month but was well outside the Olympic qualifying time.

Semenya said at those championships that she might try again to qualify for the Olympics in the 5,000 but “if not‚ it’s not the end of the world‚ man.”

By Gerald Imray

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