Se­menya ig­nores IAAF non­sense Wy­dad hold Downs

Or­gan­ised vis­i­tors keep South African cham­pi­ons at bay

Sunday Times - - Sport - By DAVID ISAACSON and AFP By MARC STRYDOM

● Caster Se­menya low­ered her own na­tional 1 500m record on Fri­day night and then la­belled ath­let­ics’ con­tro­ver­sial new hy­per­an­dro­genism rules as non­sense.

Se­menya at­tacked on the fi­nal lap to win com­fort­ably in 3min 59.92sec at the open­ing Di­a­mond League meet in Doha, im­prov­ing on the 4:00.71 she clocked at the Com­mon­wealth Games last month.

She was asked af­ter­wards why she had not com­mented on reg­u­la­tions that will force ath­letes with hy­per­an­dro­genism to take med­i­ca­tion to lower high lev­els of nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring testos­terone to com­pete in events from the 400m to the mile.

“I don’t talk about non­sense,” Se­menya re­acted an­grily.

IAAF pres­i­dent Sebastian Coe said the new rules, which will come into ef­fect on Novem­ber 1, were “ap­pro­pri­ate for the sport”.

“I think there’s a bit of a mis­taken view that this is just one par­tic­u­lar piece of work that has been show­cased,” said Coe.

“That par­tic­u­lar piece of work was in re­sponse to a very spe­cific ques­tion that we were asked and that was about per­for­mance en­hance­ment in testos­terone.

“But 15 years of work across this was enough to give the coun­cil com­fort that these reg­u­la­tions are ap­pro­pri­ate for the sport.”

But Ath­let­ics SA this week called the reg­u­la­tions skewed and said it was pre­pared to chal­lenge them at the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport in Switzer­land.

Some ex­perts in­sist the IAAF has no ev­i­dence to show that in­creased testos­terone ben­e­fits 1 500m com­peti­tors.

Se­menya, also the Olympic, world and Com­mon­wealth Games 800m cham­pion, is look­ing to go faster this sea­son.

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

Hers was one of two SA records to fall on the night, Ca­rina Horn dip­ping un­der 11 sec­onds as she low­ered her 100m mark to 10.98 while fin­ish­ing fifth in her race. at Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium

● With ruth­less, or­gan­ised ef­fi­ciency hold­ers Wy­dad Casablanca sucked the oxy­gen from the strength of Mamelodi Sun­downs — their at­tack­ing cre­ativ­ity — to earn a point in At­teridgeville in last night’s open­ing Caf Cham­pi­ons League Group C game.

Wy­dad pro­gressed past Sun­downs on penal­ties in last year’s quar­ter­fi­nals, and went on to win the com­pe­ti­tion.

The classy North Africans dealt the South Africans a small blow in the open­ing stage of this year’s group stages.

Badr Gad­darine turned in Sibusiso Vi­lakazi's cross for an own goal by Wy­dad in the sec­ond minute at Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium, and Is­mail El Haddad equalised in the 20th minute in this clash of con­ti­nen­tal heavy­weights — the com­pe­ti­tion win­ners of the past two years, who will both fancy them­selves to lift the tro­phy again come the fi­nal in early Novem­ber.

A draw in the opener against the cham­pi­ons, clever team that Wy­dad are, was not the best, nor was it the worst, start for Sun­downs. And they will not wait long for an op­por­tu­nity to bounce back.

The newly crowned Absa Premier­ship cham­pi­ons end their do­mes­tic sea­son against Bloem­fontein Celtic on Sat­ur­day, then go on the road in the Cham­pi­ons League with games the next week against Horoya in Guinea, then AS Togo-Port in Togo.

Wy­dad, big­ger phys­i­cally than Downs, are struc­tured like a Ro­man le­gion. They do not have Downs’ skill nor nifti­ness on the ball, but the Moroc­can giants do the ba­sics with a pre­ci­sion that bor­ders on beauty.

They were mostly de­fen­sive, of course. But when they did at­tack it was with a sim­plic­ity that al­most mes­merised Sun­downs.

The Brazil­ians had their chances, but were never al­lowed to get into a stride.

Sun­downs ini­tially had their open­ing goal over­ruled. A tasty chip by Hlom­pho Kekana put Khama Bil­liat through on the left, whose low punt was pushed by goal­keeper Yas­sine El Khar­roubi to the right, near the goal-line. Sibusiso Vi­lakazi struck the ball back in, tak­ing a de­flec­tion off a slid­ing Gad­darine.

The far-side as­sis­tant ref­eree ruled for a cor­ner. Con­sul­ta­tions for al­most two min- Pic­ture: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Im­ages utes saw Cameroo­nian

Alioum award the goal.

Wy­dad equalised when Oun­na­jem — the left wing who gave even Thapelo Morena is­sues with pace — crossed and again there was a goal-line is­sue. Sun­downs left-back Te­bogo Langer­man thought the ball had crossed for a cor­ner — it was kept in by cen­time­tres — and stood rigid, al­low­ing El Haddad to run through free and head past De­nis Onyango.

The home side had a sec­ond let-off when ref­eree Alioum Wy­dad on a coun­ter­at­tack put Brahim Nakach down the right. He blasted wide.

It seemed likely to be a tough bat­tle for Downs to re­gain the lead in the sec­ond half.

Early on Vi­lakazi’s long pass on the right found Gas­ton Sirino run­ning through. His header looped past the up­right.

Sun­downs’ tac­tic was to turn on the skill to desta­bilise Wy­dad’s struc­ture.

A move­ment ended with Themba Zwane shoot­ing across the face. They pried Wy­dad open again as Kekana blasted wide.

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