Rio 2016: Fifth-placed Joanna Jozwik 'feels like silver medallist' after 800m defeat to Caster Semenya

Jozwik controversially claimed that she was proud to have finished as the 'first European' and 'second white'

Mark Critchley
Monday 22 August 2016 13:10 BST
Semenya controversy at Rio 2016

A Polish middle distance runner who finished fifth in the women’s 800m final won by Caster Semenya at the Rio Olympics has claimed she “feels like a silver medallist”.

Joanna Jozwik also appeared to controversially claim that she was proud to have finished as the “first European” and the “second white” in the race.

The 25-year-old runner failed to earn a place on the podium, finishing behind South Africa’s Semenya, Burundi’s second-placed Francine Niyonsaba and Kenya’s bronze medallist Margaret Wambui.

Lynsey Sharp criticises rule changes

The race result has reignited debate in female athletics around hyperandrogenism, a condition which leads to the excessive production of testosterone.

Semenya is the best-known athlete to live with the condition but neither Niyonsaba or Wambui identify as hyperandrogenic.

Jozwik, nevertheless, has now echoed the sentiments of Great Britain’s Lynsey Sharpe and questioned the fairness of the contest including female athletes with high levels of testosterone.

“This season I had a lot of health complications and injuries, which is why I am very pleased with this result. I feel like the silver medallist,” Jozwik told Eurosport.

“The three athletes who were on the podium raise a lot of controversy. I must admit that for me it is a little strange that the authorities do nothing about this.

“These colleagues have a very high testosterone level, similar to a male’s, which is why they look how they look and run like they run.”

The Walbrzych-born sprinter finished with a time of 1:57.37, behind Canada’s Melissa Bishop.

“It hurts a bit. I saw Melissa Bishop who was very disappointed, she improved her personal best and was 4th. It's sad, and I think she should be the gold medalist."

"I'm glad I'm the first European, the second white," she added.

South Africa's Semenya moments after winning gold in the women's 800m final
South Africa's Semenya moments after winning gold in the women's 800m final (Getty)

Great Britain's Sharp, who finished in sixth place, voiced her own frustrations over the inclusion of hyperandrogenic athletes after the final.

“I have tried to avoid the issue all year," she said. "You can see how emotional it all was. We know how each other feels.

“It is out of our control and how much we rely on people at the top sorting it out. The public can see how difficult it is with the change of rule but all we can do is give it our best.

Rules which required hyperandrogenic athletes to limit their testosterone levels were overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last year, following a successful case by the Indian sprinter Dutee Chand.

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