South Africans await IAAF ruling on Caster Semenya

Semenya, who has dominated the 800m over the last decade, has remained largely silent through the court battle
caster semenya
South African Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya competes in the 1.500m senior women final at the ASA Senior Championships at Germiston Athletics stadium, in Germiston on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa on April 26, 2019. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP)

Fiercely loyal South African fans hope their Olympic champion Caster Semenya gets the all clear Wednesday when the outcome of a landmark hearing on proposed rules to restrict female athletes’ testosterone levels is delivered.

Her battle with the IAAF over the regulations has left some wondering why she has had to go through the mill to prove her athletics bona fides.

“They wanted her to prove that she is a woman first of all, and now that she’s proven that, they want to make her less of a woman. How does that even make sense?” sprinter Ashwin Classens asked.

Both on the track and in her legal battles, Caster Semenya inspires passionate devotion in South Africans.

For months, South African politicians, fellow athletes and supporters have reacted with fury as Semenya has been threatened by the new regulations that could scupper her career.

Proposed International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules require “hyperandrogenic” athletes — those with “differences of sexual development” (DSD) — to lower their testosterone levels if they want to compete with women.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland is due to deliver its verdict on Wednesday after an initial hearing in February.

Your Friends Also Read:  Ghana Olympic Committee President staying positive despite COVID-19 disruption

South Africa’s ministry of sport has been promoting Semenya on social media ahead of the verdict using the hashtag #NaturallySuperior and the slogan “Hands off Caster”.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently sent Semenya a powerful message of support, describing her as a “beacon of hope”.

“My daughter. This is only to remind you of your greatness; because you constantly remind us that nothing beats the enduring power of the human spirit,” he tweeted during the hearing in February.

“You may run alone on the track, but know now that you run with 57 million & more,” he added, referencing the population of South Africa.

South African lawmakers from across opposing parties wore black T-shirts during a debate in parliament in February carrying messages of support, including “We say NO to stigmatisation of women in sport” and “We oppose subtle hatred”.

‘Worst form of racism’

In the debate, National Freedom Party lawmaker Nhlanhlakayise Khubisa said “what is happening to Caster is the worst form of racism”.

Your Friends Also Read:  South Africa and Kenya save Africa's Blushes at 2019 IAAF World Relays

“She is being crucified for being an excelling, resilient, unwavering and unmatched athlete — our creme de la creme,” he said.

The opposition Inkatha Freedom Party called on African athletes to boycott future IAAF events if the “unfair” rules were allowed to stand.

Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2019, the 28 year-old from the country’s northern province of Limpopo has been breaking 800 metres records since she was 18 years old.

But the gender controversy has dogged her career.

“Semenya has taught us that sex isn’t always binary,” Time Magazine said, adding that regardless of the ruling, “Semenya will have already made a singular historical contribution to our understanding of biological sex.”

Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa, who flew to Switzerland to be alongside Semenya at the February hearing, labelled the rules “discriminatory” and “racial”.

“This is tantamount to modernising barbarism,” Xasa said, defending a South African hero who has the rare ability to bridge racial divides in the fractured country.

Other sporting bodies such as Cricket South Africa have also stood behind Semenya and athletes are backing her.

Your Friends Also Read:  Accusations Of Racism in a South African School

“There’s no man that I see in her… I love her,” long-jump coach Maria Diamond told AFP.

Liezel Tron, a 17 year-old heptathlon athlete, said Semenya inspired her and others.

“I’ve seen her run and it is amazing… She deserves to run and compete with all of us.”

The IAAF says the rules are essential to preserve a level playing field and ensure that all female athletes can see “a path to success.”

Semenya, who has dominated the 800m over the last decade, has remained largely silent through the court battle while her legal team has condemned the IAAF’s tactics and policies.

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central TV.


Previous Article
cyclone mozambique

Aid delivery to Mozambique Cyclone survivors hampered by bad weather

Next Article
Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

Ebola deaths continue in DR Congo, 26 deaths recorded in one day - Health ministry

Related Posts