Athletics

Semenya says she is 'unquestionably a woman'

2019-02-14 22:33
Caster Semenya
Caster Semenya (AP)

Johannesburg - South African 800m Olympic champion Caster Semenya on Thursday said she was "unquestionably a woman", after the IAAF denied reports that it would argue that she should be classified as a biological male.

Semenya, 28, issued the statement ahead of a landmark hearing at the Court of Arbitration (CAS) next week that will challenge a proposed rule by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) aiming to restrict testosterone levels in female runners.

READ: Semenya is fighting to run free, her genetic gift should be celebrated - lawyers

"Ms Semenya is unquestionably a woman. She is a heroine and an inspiration to many around the world," her lawyers said in a statement.

"She asks that she be respected and treated as any other athlete."

The rules would force so-called "hyperandrogenic" athletes or those with "differences of sexual development" (DSD) to keep testosterone levels below a prescribed amount.

The rules were to have been instituted in November 2018 but have been put on ice pending next week's hearings.

Supported by the South African Athletics Federation, the two-time Olympic champion in the 800m (2012, 2016) and three-time world champion (2009, 2011, 2017) has denounced the proposals.

"I just want to run naturally, the way I was born. It is not fair that I am told I must change. It is not fair that people question who I am," she has said previously.

"She looks forward to responding to the IAAF at the upcoming CAS hearing," Semenya's legal team said, adding that "her genetic gift should be celebrated, not discriminated against".

As well as Semenya, the silver and bronze medallists of the 800m at the Rio Olympics, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Kenya's Margaret Wambui, have also faced questions about their testosterone levels.

"The IAAF is not classifying any DSD athlete as male," the IAAF said in a statement. "To preserve fair competition in the female category, it is necessary to require DSD athletes to reduce their testosterone down to female levels."

A CAS spokesperson confirmed to AFP on Thursday that the hearing is scheduled for next week in Lausanne from Monday to Friday with Semenya in attendance.

Read more on:    iaaf  |  caster semenya  |  athletics

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
Vote

How much of a runner are you?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.