Olympic great Caster Semenya: ‘They are killing sport’


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Photo: Chell Hill

Olympic great Caster Semenya will probably not run at the Tokyo Olympics. World Athletics will only allow her to compete if she takes medication to lower her testosterone levels.

Classified by World Athletics as an athlete with differences in sex development (DSD), Caster Semenya refuses to medically re-engineer her body. She told the Guardian she refused to take the medication.

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“They want me to take my own system down. I’m not sick. I don’t need drugs. I will never do that.”

Caster pointed out that numerous other champion athletes also enjoy genetic advantages.

“Michael Phelps’s arms are wide enough for him to do whatever he wants. Swimmers’ lungs are different to other people’s. Basketball players like LeBron James are tall. If all the tall players are banned from playing, will basketball be the same? Usain has amazing muscle fibres. Are they going to stop him, too? My organs may be different and I may have a deep voice, but I am a woman.”

The Olympic great points out that to become champions athletes need more than just their natural attributes.

My high testosterone levels are something I was born with, it’s a disorder. It doesn’t make me the best, though. That’s where the training and knowledge comes in.”

European Court of Human Rights

Currently, Caster Semenya is awaiting the outcome of an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. A win there would see the court recommend that World Athletics drop its insistence on medication. However, the recommendation would not be binding.

Meanwhile, she focuses on charitable work through The Caster Semenya Foundation she founded in 2016. Caster and her wife Violet Raseboya also recently became parents to a baby girl.

She is also working on a campaign called Born This Way with the Lux brand, urging women to ‘express their beauty and femininity unapologetically’.

Caster Semenya told the Guardian, “It’s very simple.

“You should accept yourself, appreciate yourself and show the world. You need hope for life.”

Finally, she said, “You need to be positive.”

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