Like Usain Bolt before her, Olympic champion Caster Semenya is trading her track cleats for soccer boots.
At least for now.
Unable to compete in track if she refuses to take testosterone-altering drugs, the two-time 800m gold medalist has signed for a South Africa women’s soccer team.
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Semenya joined JVW FC, a six-year old club founded by South African women’s national team captain Janine van Wyk (Surely no ego was spared in the naming of the club!).
Here’s the explanation from Olympic Talk’s Nick Zaccardi.
Semenya made this move after a Swiss court ruled in late July that she can’t in her best events while she appeals a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision that upheld the IAAF’s new rule that bars her. Semenya took that ruling to mean that she won’t be able to defend her world title in Doha in three weeks.
Can she finish? That’s the big question (and we’re also assuming that, like Bolt, she’ll be used in attack).
Here’s what Van Wyk said about adding Semenya to the club (Van Wyk, it should be noted, does not play for the club that bears her initials):
“I am extremely elated to have such an iconic athlete join my football club. I am absolutely honored that out of all the other women’s clubs around the world, she has chosen JVW as the club where she would like to start showcasing her football skills. I welcomed her at her first training with the team on Tuesday, and was impressed to see that she definitely has all the fundamentals. I look forward to her working with Coach Ciara and our First Team where I am sure she will sharpen up and get ready to play in 2020. Although I won’t be here for the rest of the year, as I have just signed with Fortuna Hjorring, I have no doubt that Caster will fit right in, and enjoy her time at the club.”