The Olympic champion of 800m running, Caster Semenya, joined the JVW club in his home town of South Africa.
Semenya was unable to defend the title of world champion in Doha in late September, because it did not accept the use of male hormones (testosterone) as requested by the World Athletics Federation (IAAF). The 28-year-old athlete, therefore, sought a football club to train to maintain fitness.
The transfer market in South Africa is closed, so Semenya can only train with JVW teammates and not play. “I am very excited about this new journey,” owner of 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medals said. “The team support and love me a lot.”
JVW was founded in 2013, by the current South African women’s soccer captain – Janine van Wyk. The women’s football tournament in South Africa is divided into nine smaller provincial competitions, and JVW is one of the strongest teams in Gauteng province.
“Semenya is free at the moment, which is why she can do something different,” van Wyk told the BBC. “She had two training sessions with the team. Semenya has a lot of football potential, but we still need to help her improve more. Semenya told me that she will not stop running. Her appearance is great for the team and the tournament “.
Earlier this year, the IAAF prescribed limits of testosterone (male hormone) in female athletes. This greatly influenced Caster Semenya’s career. Olympic champions are forced to take testosterone-lowering drugs if they want to compete on the women’s track, due to the masculine hormone in her body. But Semenya insisted she would not take the medication, and appealed to the end. The Swiss High Court on July 30 refused to suspend Semenya’s decision to take testosterone-lowering drugs.
Semenya was not the first professional athlete to play soccer. Another Olympic athlete, Usain Bolt, trained with Stromsgodset (Norway) and Central Coast Mariners (Australia) but was not signed.