BC-ATH--France-Semenya, 1st Ld-Writethru,329

Defiant Semenya to IAAF: Catch dopers, 'not us'

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A defiant Caster Semenya is urging track's governing body to drop its battle against female runners with high testosterone levels and instead focus on catching dope cheats. Speaking after winning a 2,000 meters race on the outskirts of Paris, the South African again made clear Tuesday that she will refuse to medicate to bring down her testosterone levels, to comply with hugely controversial rules pushed by the IAAF.

By JOHN LEICESTER

AP Sports Writer

MONTREUIL, France (AP) — After another winning run, a defiant Caster Semenya on Tuesday urged track's governing body to drop its pursuit of female runners with high testosterone levels and instead focus on catching dope cheats.

Speaking after winning a 2,000-meter race on the outskirts of Paris, the South African again made clear that she will refuse to medicate to bring down her testosterone levels, to comply with hugely controversial rules pushed by the IAAF.

"I'm not an idiot. Why will I take drugs? I'm a pure athlete. I don't cheat. They should focus on doping, not us. I'm never going to take drugs," the two-time Olympic champion over 800 meters said.

Another athlete affected by the rules, Francine Niyonsaba, also responded with a defiant "No!" when asked after the race if she would medicate.

"I'm sad, because it's a discriminatory rule, you know, a rule that targeted me and other world-class athletes in certain disciplines," said Niyonsaba, who took the silver medal behind Semenya in the 800 at the 2016 Olympics.

Athletes affected by the rules have levels of testosterone in the male range, the IAAF says, and they must reduce them to be allowed to run in women's events. The IAAF argues that testosterone's muscle-building capacity and ability to help athletes carry more oxygen in their blood gives Semenya and others like her an unfair athletic advantage over other women.

The rules, which came into effect May 8, apply to races from 400 meters to one mile. Semenya tried but failed to have the regulations struck down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Her legal team subsequently appealed to the Swiss supreme court, which then temporarily lifted the contentious rules in her case.

Semenya wouldn't comment Tuesday on that appeal, saying she's not a lawyer. But she also made clear that she intends to be the master of her own fate, saying: "I'm not going to change because of any man."

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