JOHANNESBURG- For the first time international athletics board, the International Association Athletics Federations (IAAF) better known for its anti-doping stance is encouraging a world-beating athlete to take performance altering drugs.
South Africa’s Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya could run up to seven seconds slower under new rules requiring her to lower her natural testosterone levels to race internationally, a prominent sports scientist has predicted.
Under rules announced on Thursday by world athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, a separate female classification for an athlete with differences of sexual development (or DSDs) have been introduced. Such athletes, including Semenya, will have to reduce and then maintain their testosterone levels to no greater than 5nmol/L by November 1, 2018, if they want to compete in events ranging from 400m to a mile.
Semenya has in recent years dominated world athletics, she is a double Olympic Gold medal winner (2012 and 2016) over 800m and won gold in both the 800m and 1 500m at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.
This has become a problem to the powers that be in athletics worldwide.
No female athlete the whole world has faced such brutal scrutiny by fellow competitors, sports officials and journalists.
In 2009 at the world track and field championships, winning by more than two seconds, a fellow competitor called her a man. Pierre Weiss, the general secretary of the International Association of Athletics Federations, track and field’s world governing body, said, “She is a woman, but maybe not 100 percent.”
Why? Because she performed better than the rest? Or it’s because she is African?
I don’t have the answers but I can speculate.
Once upon a time, there was a French tennis champion by the name of Amelie Mauresmo, she looked different such that others competitors called her “a man”. She was the Caster Semenya of tennis but she was treated differently to the South African star athlete
Tennis officials never questioned her womanhood, she was just different, why not treat Semenya the same?
In 2006 the Guardian UK described her: as: “The tall, athletic young Frenchwoman.”
To a casual observer, it would seem this has more to do with her being African than anything else. To think the whole sporting board is determined to make this African girl take performance altering drugs beggars belief.
It’s a sad day for Africa but Semanya belongs to us and we love her no matter how much you despise her.