Caster Semenya has been involved in a frantic fight for her career for the past year, but has no plans to walk away from the track just yet.
The two-time Olympic champion was one of the high-profile names invited to speak at the Standard Bank Top Women’s Conference on Wednesday morning.
She touched on various issues affecting women in sports – a subject she is well versed in, given her legal battle against the IAAF, who seek to force her to take testosterone-reducing medication in order to continue competing in middle-distance racing.
As a result of the latest rule-change brought on by the athletics body, Semenya’s career has come to a halt, pending her ongoing appeal against said changes.
Speaking at the conference, she was quizzed on her future plans, and revealed she was determined to carry on, despite the overwhelming setbacks.
“Retiring is not an option at the moment. I’m still like 28. I think I still have like ten years of my career.
“Okay, I might be stopped from my running, but it’s just a temporary thing.”
Caster Semenya in it for the long haul
Semenya – also the reigning world champion in the women’s 800m – stands to relinquish her title, as she will not be allowed to defend it in Doha later in the year.
This comes following a ruling by the Swiss Federal Tribunal reinstated IAAF’s testosterone regulations, which had been temporarily suspended pending her appeal.
Having also delved into longer distances, the 28-year-old said she is determined to carry on running – even going as far as taking part in ultra marathons.
“My plan is to run until I’m 35. We still have marathons We still have the Comrades Marathon, if you were to go a little bit crazy.”
Semenya also touched on ambitions to contribute to other women’s sports, including soccer, sevens rugby and cricket.
However, she reiterated that her focus is still on her career on the track, which she is not planning on giving up anytime soon.
“But running, I’m not giving up yet. I’m still there. I still feel young. My body can still tell me ‘look, you can still go more and more’.
“If (former coach) Maria (Mutola) went ten years or 21 years, I can still go almost 30 years, because I can still upgrade to marathons. So, you should watch out for that.”