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Semenya wins first race since new rules announced

media South African athlete Caster Semenya won in the women's 1500m at the first Diamond League meet of the season with a personal best KARIM JAAFAR / AFP

South African "queen of middle distance" Caster Semenya has won the 1500m at her first meet since the IAAF announced new rules on hyperandrogenous women.

Semenya described the new rules as "nonsense" after clocking a new personal best at the first Diamond League event of the season on Friday.

Speaking to reporters after taking gold with three minutes 59.92 seconds, Semenya said: "I don't talk about nonsense."

The controvesial new measures, designed to curb what the IAAF describes as the "unfair" advantage held by women with the condition, were announced last month and would see Semenya forced to take drugs to artificially reduce the natural testosterone in her body.

They are due to come into force on 1 November.

New rules criticised

The IAAF has faced increasing criticism over the rules. South Africa's ruling ANC even described the measures as "racist".

But supporters say women like Semenya have testosterone levels similar to men, giving them an advantage over other women.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe earlier hit a defiant note amid criticism of the new rules, insisting they were "appropriate for the sport".

The previous attempt to regulate on hyperandrogenism fell foul of a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling in 2015 after the appeal on behalf of Indian athlete Dutee Chand, who had been banned from competing because of her testosterone levels.

The issue is controversial because it pits principles of fair competition against the rights of women born with the condition.

Dominating in Doha

Semenya held back in sixth place of a loaded 15-strong field through the first lap at the Qatar Sports Club in Doha in temperatures of 30°C.

Pacemakers Emily Tuei and Noelie Yarigo were three seconds off target, taking the field through 800m in 2:11.00.

Tuei then bolted to the bell, with Semenya in fifth as Kenyan Nelly Jepkosgei took the lead.

With 200m to go Semenya moved effortlessly up on Jepkosgei's shoulder and went past with apparent ease to win.

"The most important thing was to break the magic four minutes and obviously we did that," said Semenya.

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