Caster Semenya crushes competition to win 800m gold

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Caster Semenya has officially become the golden girl of South African sport.

But her Olympic 800m triumph is certain to further inflame the scientific and ethical storm about whether she, as an intersex athlete, should be allowed to compete with women.

Semenya, whose body has been subjected to brutal and unprecedented scrutiny for years, claimed her first Olympic gold medal in Rio on Saturday night.

She was a full two seconds short of breaking Jarmila Kratochvilova's 33-year-old world record, but still posted the fastest two-lap time this year of one minute 55.28 seconds.

After blazing through her heat and semi-final, Semenya had the final comfortably covered.

The 25-year-old put her foot down on the final bend and surged ahead to leave Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba (1:56.49) with silver and Kenya's Margaret Wambui (1:56.89) with bronze.

Yet even as a proud Semenya completed her victory lap draped in the South African flag, she did so under the weight of an issue that transcends sport.

Since the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled last year there was no conclusive scientific proof that elevated testosterone provides women with a significant competitive edge, the South African has been allowed to compete without the medication that suppressed her naturally occurring elevated testosterone levels to that considered normal for female athletes.

She has subsequently dominated in a manner reminiscent of her astonishing 800m world title in Berlin seven years ago, the trigger for her forced gender testing and outing as intersex.

Only hours before Saturday's race, IAAF president Sebastian Coe reiterated the organisation intended to take the case back to CAS.

That both Niyonsaba and Wambui have also been the subject of scrutiny about whether they too have the same condition, hyperandrogenism, only further ignites the fire.

Many of Semenya's rivals did not want to address the issue post-race.

"It's out of my control, there's nothing I can do about it," said Great Britain's Lynsey Sharp, who came sixth.

"It's up to the people at the top. That's all I can say."