Caster Semenya`s first appearance in a world championship in five years on Wednesday saw the controversy-mired South African fail to qualify for the women’s 5000m finals.
In roasting mid-afternoon temperatures, Semenya finished 13th in the first of two rounds at Hayward Field, Eugene, in 15:46. 12, more than 45sec off the 15th and final qualifying place. Semenya sat 13th of the 18-strong field as Japan’s Kaede Hagitani set the early pace in her heat.
That has increased to a clear 100 metres as American Karissa Schweizer hit the lead with three laps to run. Tsegay kicked and led a pack of five through the bell with Semenya a distant figure 300 metres off the pace.
The South African last competed at a world championship in London in 2017 where she won her third 800m world crown. World Athletics bars women athletes with high testosterone levels from competing in shorter races because the governing body says the hormone increases muscle mass and oxygen uptake.
“She’s eligible to be here,” Coe said of Semenya, who initially missed qualification when she only finished sixth at the African Championships last month, but benefitted from a number of athletes dropping out.