Infotainment Factory: The ‘barbaric violation’ of an Olympic icon

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Friday, 22 February 2019

The ‘barbaric violation’ of an Olympic icon


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Three hours before Caster Semenya won the 800m world championship in August 2009, at age 18, news broke that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had ordered her to be gender tested.

The bombshell action came about thanks to an extraordinary run in the African Junior Championships earlier that year, in which she took gold bettering her personal best by four seconds; meaning she had improved her PB by seven seconds in less than nine months. Not only that, her 1.56:72 was a national record, a championship record – and a world-best time for the year.

Her cards were marked.

Having cruised into the final, Semenya stood on the start line in Berlin knowing that the world was now asking a brutal question of her, a hitherto unknown prodigy.

Not, who was Caster Semenya? What was Caster Semenya?

https://twitter.com/caster800m/status/1061269948239101954

This was a woman young enough to be in high school who had begun running to train for football. And she showed them what she was, regardless of her sex.

A champion.

Semenya, shunned by her fellow athletes in the call room before the race, led from halfway and powered to victory in 1.55:45 – a new 2009 world-best and more than another second slashed off her PB. Eight seconds inside a year.

Michael Johnson, the iconic 200m-400m champion, decried the cruelty of Semenya’s public exposure by the IAAF. Yet that gold medal, won with a low-to-the-ground perpetual force somewhat reminiscent of Johnson, only ensured more scrutiny.

The next month, news broke again. Caster Semenya, Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph reported in a world exclusive, was an intersex person with no ovaries or womb, with internalised testes and testosterone three times the ‘normal’ level for a woman.

She was branded a hermaphrodite, a crude term more often used to describe other living organisms that can reproduce as either male or female. The term originated in Greek mythology with the sexually ambiguous son of Hermes and Aphrodite, Hermaphroditus. Most snails, worms, slugs and plants are true hermaphrodites; also, some fish.

Run of the mill teasing of an emotional adolescent, of standard chromosomal make-up, is often cruel. Semenya had already endured junior rivals following her into the toilets, trying to check it she was truly female. Her coach, Michael Seme, once feared that Semenya would commit suicide.

The 2009 global examination of a most remarkable individual, still just a kid, was an exponential step up and it was devastating. Sixth-placed Italian athlete Elisa Cusma reportedly said: “These kind of people should not run with us.”

Yet Semenya is made of fierce stuff; she later described that world championship, for all its tumultuous surroundings, as the greatest moment of her life.

https://twitter.com/caster800m/status/1059759425945165824

The scandal caused huge upheaval in Athletics South Africa. ASA president Leonard Cheune admitted to lying about a gender test carried out on Semenya in advance of her victory, initially keeping his job but losing it two years later amid a raft of other charges. Two board members were also axed.

“If we did not allow the girl to run, we would have deprived her of a medal and suggested that she is not normal,” Cheune said in September 2009, claiming he had still not seen any test results. “No one has seen the results. We have learnt in the media that she is a hermaphrodite.”

Semenya kept her medal, yet was sidelined by the IAAF until July 2010. It was only the beginning of a decade of intrusive humiliation.

Caster Semenya celebrates her 800m win. (AAP)

SEMENYA vs IAAF IN COURT

We have arrived at the athletic governing body’s end game: Caster Semenya is currently fighting an IAAF action in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) - the ultimate sporting legal body, based in Lausanne - that she should have her testosterone levels reduced to a “female” level. The move would apply to so-called “hyperandrogenic” athletes; those with “differences of sexual development”.

Sport is struggling to deal with the debate around transgender athletes to the extent that Martina Navratilova, one of the most iconic LGBTI figures in sporting history, has been lambasted this week for allegedly “transphobic” and “dangerous” comments on trans athletes. Intersex athletes bring yet another layer of complexity to a deeply human issue of identity.

It seems that the only safe ground currently available on this delicate matter (to those outside the relevant genders) is to raise a hand, admit limited understanding, and offer kindness and an open mind. Yet that neutral zone, that human nuance, is not compatible with the black and white world of sport; does this person neatly fit this existing category, are they biologically entitled to stand on the starting line, and does mainstream society see legitimacy in their triumph?

The bizarre thing about Semenya’s CAS appearance is that she has already won two Olympic gold medals, three world championship golds and a pair of Commonwealth Games golds. Athletics has bumbled for a decade without resolution, allowing Semenya to dominate her sport in the meantime, before seeking a most rudimentary final remedy that will do nothing to clarify the confusion of what has already come to pass.

The IAAF was forced to deny before Semenya’s hearing that it was in fact seeking to have her classified as male. But is does want her to be less like a male. It is treading a deeply uncomfortable line between fairness in sport and basic human rights.

“We are talking [about] violations of women’s bodies; where women have to explain themselves for how they appear in the eyes of [others],” South African sports minister Tokozile Xasa said at the CAS hearing.

The IAAF’s retort, via its president and Semenya’s fellow dual Olympic gold medallist Sebastian Coe: “The regulations that we are introducing are there to protect the sanctity of fair and open competition.”

OLYMPIC GOLD NO.1

They introduced the runners from inside to out for the London 2012 Olympic 800m final. The stadium had to wait until Lane 7 for Semenya.

She was introduced on one broadcast as “the controversial South African who was the world champion in 2009”. She received her introduction with only a hint of a smile and made a gesture - brushing off her shoulders with both hands, as if swatting away the weight of the world - before raising her right arm in the air with a steely look.

After an underwhelming season, she had run 1:57.00 in her semi-final. She was ready.

Yet she hit the 200m mark second-last. She was dead last into the straight. Still trailing the entire field as the bell rang at 400m, in a quick split for the leader of 56.31. “Semenya now has dropped right off the back … this is extraordinary, running 1:57.00 in qualification,” went the race call.

Kenyan star Pamela Jelimo powered to the lead in the back straight. Semenya was challenging for seventh, and moved into second-last at 600m. She was sixth into the straight, trailing by about 10m.

https://twitter.com/caster800m/status/1070282554232791040

A breathtaking burst around the outside saw her surge past five rivals into second, though she crossed the line well behind Russia’s Mariya Savinova, who (seemingly) claimed gold in 1:56.19. Semenya ran 1:57.23 – “What a strange way to run the race, looked as though she’d got a mile of running in her left, it was an extraordinary way to run the race” – and she offered a smile and a bicep flex for her apparent silver medal-winning performance.

In November 2015, the World Anti-Doping Agency recommended a life ban for Savinova. In a December 2014 documentary, she had admitted to using the anabolic steroid oxandrolone. In February 2017, the Russian’s results were disqualified back to July 2010.

There was a cheat in the Olympic final, and it was not Semenya. The South African was upgraded to the gold medal but was robbed of her moment of glory. Savinova also cheated Semenya of gold at the 2011 world championships.

DIRTY TRICKS AND HEAVY CLAIMS

The CAS hearing began with a claim, from Semenya’s camp, of foul play by the IAAF. The athletics governing body published the names of five experts who were to appear to testify on their behalf, including professors in reproductive endocrinology and andrology, and obstetrics and gynaecology.

“The arbitration proceedings are subject to strict confidentiality provisions and this information should not have been released,” a statement from Semenya’s lawyers said.

“Ms Semenya believes the IAAF press release is a clear breach of the confidentiality provisions that was orchestrated in an effort to influence public opinion in circumstances where the IAAF knew that Ms Semenya would not be prepared to respond because she was complying with her confidentiality obligations.

“As a matter of fairness, Ms Semenya raised this issue with the CAS and has been granted permission to publicly release information responding to the IAAF press release, including disclosing the experts who are testifying in support of Ms Semenya’s case.”

Semenya’s list included her own professor of obstetrics and gynaecology. The 800m champion is attempting to combat a core claim of the IAAF: “IF a DSD athlete has testes and male levels of testosterone, they get the same increases in bone and muscle size and strength and increases in haemoglobin that a male gets when the go through puberty, which is what gives men such a performance advantage over women.”

Semenya has also denied another claim made ahead of the hearing: that she received 25 million rand ($2.5 million) in funding from the South African government towards her legal campaign. She said that the majority of her backing was private, though the South African government has been a vocal supporter. It is a landmark case.

In a statement, presented in Lausanne by Xasa, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa told Semenya: “Remember, you are a great. Remember that you are a symbol that constantly reminds us that nothing beats the enduring power of human spirit.

“We want to make sure that you don’t feel alone.”

https://twitter.com/caster800m/status/1098979079259336704

OLYMPIC GOLD NO.2

Semenya’s idol, from her impoverished childhood in a tiny village in Limpopo province onwards, was Mozambique’s Maria Mutola; herself the subject of persistent whispers over gender identity.

As she stood on the starting line for the Rio 2016 final, Semenya was attempting to outdo her hero’s lone Olympic 800m gold medal, from Sydney 2000.

The announcements ran outside-in. Semenya stood in lane three and offered not a hint of a smile as her name boomed around the stadium; a lick of her lips as she repeated her shoulder-brushing gesture.

There was to be no repeat of the strange London run, punctuated by the doping scandal and belated gold medal win. This was a masterclass.

“Semenya making a statement of intent in the first few metres” was the call as the South African powered away, instantly making up ground and taking the lead around the 100m merge. She led to the bell before being overtaken by Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba with 300m remaining.

Niyonsaba was working significantly harder than Semenya as Kenya’s Margaret Wambui emerged from midfield to challenge, taking third on the final bend. But it was Semenya’s cue.

Keeping far superior form, Semenya claimed the lead into the straight and torched her rivals over the final 100m; “She runs away and wins it brilliantly!” The margin was the best part of 10m from Niyonsaba and Wambui.

Her face was defiant. The bicep flex returned, before a smile and the shoulder-brush. She hugged Niyonsaba and raised her arms, a dominant back-to-back champion. “She has destroyed them in the last 200m, and that was the way a lot of people thought she would become the Olympic champion.”

Semenya ran 1:55.28 – another PB, and another national record. She has since dropped her best to 1:54.25, last June in Paris. It is the fourth-best women’s 800m time in history.

Czechoslovakia’s Jarmila Kratochvilova ran the women’s 800m world record of 1:53.28 back in 1983. There are major question marks over the time, set at that year’s world championships, due to potential doping by the atypically muscular 32-year-old.

Claims of an unfair advantage for Semenya are poles apart from conventional cheating; and the South African is not alone. Niyonsaba and Wambui have also faced scrutiny over their testosterone levels.

Semenya has not just outdone the single Olympic gold of her hero, Mutola, she has since matched the Mozambican’s three world championship golds. She is a superstar; but one who is difficult to reconcile for many sports fans.

South Africa's runner Caster Semenya

THE SPORT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME

“I am a woman and I am fast.” That has been Semenya’s simple retort to doubts over her legitimacy as a female athlete.

The elevation of the fight over her status to the CAS has prompted her lawyers to speak on her behalf. The language is not so plain, but the intent remains clear.

“Ms Semenya believes that she and other women affected by the [IAAF] regulations should be permitted to compete in the female category without discrimination, and celebrated for their natural talents as are all other athletes with genetic variations,” a statement said.

“The IAAF’s regulations do not empower anyone. Rather, they represent yet another flawed and hurtful attempt to police the sex of female athletes”.

It is a grey area. Social media musings over the case have drifted to other sports. Should basketball ban players above seven feet tall? Should there be limitations on foot size for swimmers? Should Lionel Messi be banned from using his freakish left foot? Then there have been claims of racism and sexism against a brilliant, black female athlete.

Tennis legend and LGBTI pioneer Billie Jean King has offered one of the most strident defences of Semenya. She tweeted: “My friend Caster Semenya is unequivocally female.

“Forcing women w/naturally high testosterone to give up ownership of their bodies and take drugs to compete in sport is barbaric, dangerous, and discriminatory. I stand behind her and hope she prevails.”

The IAAF claims that it is “empowering girls and women” by challenging athletes such as Semenya. It has cast itself as the defender of a level playing field.

“The female category in sport is a protected category,” an IAAF statement said.

“For it to serve its purposes, which include providing females opportunities equal to males, it must have eligibility standards that ensure athletes who identify as female but have testes, and testosterone levels in the male range, at least drop their testosterone levels into the female range in order to compete at the elite level in the female classification.

“This standard is necessary to ensure fair competition for all women. Indeed, without it, we risk losing the next generation of female athletes, since they will see no path to success in our sport.”

https://twitter.com/caster800m/status/1025699736450424832

It is a brutal charge: that a woman, by simply competing as she was created, could destroy the sport she loves. Semenya is still just 28.

We will discover the outcome from her five-day hearing in about one month. CAS’s judgment, delivered by three judges, is expected by the end of March.

Either outcome will change the simplest sport - run fast, first across the line wins - forever.

Three hours before Caster Semenya won the 800m world championship in August 2009, at age 18, news broke that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had ordered her to be gender tested.

The bombshell action came about thanks to an extraordinary run in the African Junior Championships earlier that year, in which she took gold bettering her personal best by four seconds; meaning she had improved her PB by seven seconds in less than nine months. Not only that, her 1.56:72 was a national record, a championship record – and a world-best time for the year.

Her cards were marked.

Having cruised into the final, Semenya stood on the start line in Berlin knowing that the world was now asking a brutal question of her, a hitherto unknown prodigy.

Not, who was Caster Semenya? What was Caster Semenya?

https://twitter.com/caster800m/status/1061269948239101954

This was a woman young enough to be in high school who had begun running to train for football. And she showed them what she was, regardless of her sex.

A champion.

Semenya, shunned by her fellow athletes in the call room before the race, led from halfway and powered to victory in 1.55:45 – a new 2009 world-best and more than another second slashed off her PB. Eight seconds inside a year.

Michael Johnson, the iconic 200m-400m champion, decried the cruelty of Semenya’s public exposure by the IAAF. Yet that gold medal, won with a low-to-the-ground perpetual force somewhat reminiscent of Johnson, only ensured more scrutiny.

The next month, news broke again. Caster Semenya, Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph reported in a world exclusive, was an intersex person with no ovaries or womb, with internalised testes and testosterone three times the ‘normal’ level for a woman.

She was branded a hermaphrodite, a crude term more often used to describe other living organisms that can reproduce as either male or female. The term originated in Greek mythology with the sexually ambiguous son of Hermes and Aphrodite, Hermaphroditus. Most snails, worms, slugs and plants are true hermaphrodites; also, some fish.

Run of the mill teasing of an emotional adolescent, of standard chromosomal make-up, is often cruel. Semenya had already endured junior rivals following her into the toilets, trying to check it she was truly female. Her coach, Michael Seme, once feared that Semenya would commit suicide.

The 2009 global examination of a most remarkable individual, still just a kid, was an exponential step up and it was devastating. Sixth-placed Italian athlete Elisa Cusma reportedly said: “These kind of people should not run with us.”

Yet Semenya is made of fierce stuff; she later described that world championship, for all its tumultuous surroundings, as the greatest moment of her life.

https://twitter.com/caster800m/status/1059759425945165824

The scandal caused huge upheaval in Athletics South Africa. ASA president Leonard Cheune admitted to lying about a gender test carried out on Semenya in advance of her victory, initially keeping his job but losing it two years later amid a raft of other charges. Two board members were also axed.

“If we did not allow the girl to run, we would have deprived her of a medal and suggested that she is not normal,” Cheune said in September 2009, claiming he had still not seen any test results. “No one has seen the results. We have learnt in the media that she is a hermaphrodite.”

Semenya kept her medal, yet was sidelined by the IAAF until July 2010. It was only the beginning of a decade of intrusive humiliation.

Caster Semenya celebrates her 800m win. (AAP)

SEMENYA vs IAAF IN COURT

We have arrived at the athletic governing body’s end game: Caster Semenya is currently fighting an IAAF action in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) - the ultimate sporting legal body, based in Lausanne - that she should have her testosterone levels reduced to a “female” level. The move would apply to so-called “hyperandrogenic” athletes; those with “differences of sexual development”.

Sport is struggling to deal with the debate around transgender athletes to the extent that Martina Navratilova, one of the most iconic LGBTI figures in sporting history, has been lambasted this week for allegedly “transphobic” and “dangerous” comments on trans athletes. Intersex athletes bring yet another layer of complexity to a deeply human issue of identity.

It seems that the only safe ground currently available on this delicate matter (to those outside the relevant genders) is to raise a hand, admit limited understanding, and offer kindness and an open mind. Yet that neutral zone, that human nuance, is not compatible with the black and white world of sport; does this person neatly fit this existing category, are they biologically entitled to stand on the starting line, and does mainstream society see legitimacy in their triumph?

The bizarre thing about Semenya’s CAS appearance is that she has already won two Olympic gold medals, three world championship golds and a pair of Commonwealth Games golds. Athletics has bumbled for a decade without resolution, allowing Semenya to dominate her sport in the meantime, before seeking a most rudimentary final remedy that will do nothing to clarify the confusion of what has already come to pass.

The IAAF was forced to deny before Semenya’s hearing that it was in fact seeking to have her classified as male. But is does want her to be less like a male. It is treading a deeply uncomfortable line between fairness in sport and basic human rights.

“We are talking [about] violations of women’s bodies; where women have to explain themselves for how they appear in the eyes of [others],” South African sports minister Tokozile Xasa said at the CAS hearing.

The IAAF’s retort, via its president and Semenya’s fellow dual Olympic gold medallist Sebastian Coe: “The regulations that we are introducing are there to protect the sanctity of fair and open competition.”

OLYMPIC GOLD NO.1

They introduced the runners from inside to out for the London 2012 Olympic 800m final. The stadium had to wait until Lane 7 for Semenya.

She was introduced on one broadcast as “the controversial South African who was the world champion in 2009”. She received her introduction with only a hint of a smile and made a gesture - brushing off her shoulders with both hands, as if swatting away the weight of the world - before raising her right arm in the air with a steely look.

After an underwhelming season, she had run 1:57.00 in her semi-final. She was ready.

Yet she hit the 200m mark second-last. She was dead last into the straight. Still trailing the entire field as the bell rang at 400m, in a quick split for the leader of 56.31. “Semenya now has dropped right off the back … this is extraordinary, running 1:57.00 in qualification,” went the race call.

Kenyan star Pamela Jelimo powered to the lead in the back straight. Semenya was challenging for seventh, and moved into second-last at 600m. She was sixth into the straight, trailing by about 10m.

https://twitter.com/caster800m/status/1070282554232791040

A breathtaking burst around the outside saw her surge past five rivals into second, though she crossed the line well behind Russia’s Mariya Savinova, who (seemingly) claimed gold in 1:56.19. Semenya ran 1:57.23 – “What a strange way to run the race, looked as though she’d got a mile of running in her left, it was an extraordinary way to run the race” – and she offered a smile and a bicep flex for her apparent silver medal-winning performance.

In November 2015, the World Anti-Doping Agency recommended a life ban for Savinova. In a December 2014 documentary, she had admitted to using the anabolic steroid oxandrolone. In February 2017, the Russian’s results were disqualified back to July 2010.

There was a cheat in the Olympic final, and it was not Semenya. The South African was upgraded to the gold medal but was robbed of her moment of glory. Savinova also cheated Semenya of gold at the 2011 world championships.

DIRTY TRICKS AND HEAVY CLAIMS

The CAS hearing began with a claim, from Semenya’s camp, of foul play by the IAAF. The athletics governing body published the names of five experts who were to appear to testify on their behalf, including professors in reproductive endocrinology and andrology, and obstetrics and gynaecology.

“The arbitration proceedings are subject to strict confidentiality provisions and this information should not have been released,” a statement from Semenya’s lawyers said.

“Ms Semenya believes the IAAF press release is a clear breach of the confidentiality provisions that was orchestrated in an effort to influence public opinion in circumstances where the IAAF knew that Ms Semenya would not be prepared to respond because she was complying with her confidentiality obligations.

“As a matter of fairness, Ms Semenya raised this issue with the CAS and has been granted permission to publicly release information responding to the IAAF press release, including disclosing the experts who are testifying in support of Ms Semenya’s case.”

Semenya’s list included her own professor of obstetrics and gynaecology. The 800m champion is attempting to combat a core claim of the IAAF: “IF a DSD athlete has testes and male levels of testosterone, they get the same increases in bone and muscle size and strength and increases in haemoglobin that a male gets when the go through puberty, which is what gives men such a performance advantage over women.”

Semenya has also denied another claim made ahead of the hearing: that she received 25 million rand ($2.5 million) in funding from the South African government towards her legal campaign. She said that the majority of her backing was private, though the South African government has been a vocal supporter. It is a landmark case.

In a statement, presented in Lausanne by Xasa, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa told Semenya: “Remember, you are a great. Remember that you are a symbol that constantly reminds us that nothing beats the enduring power of human spirit.

“We want to make sure that you don’t feel alone.”

https://twitter.com/caster800m/status/1098979079259336704

OLYMPIC GOLD NO.2

Semenya’s idol, from her impoverished childhood in a tiny village in Limpopo province onwards, was Mozambique’s Maria Mutola; herself the subject of persistent whispers over gender identity.

As she stood on the starting line for the Rio 2016 final, Semenya was attempting to outdo her hero’s lone Olympic 800m gold medal, from Sydney 2000.

The announcements ran outside-in. Semenya stood in lane three and offered not a hint of a smile as her name boomed around the stadium; a lick of her lips as she repeated her shoulder-brushing gesture.

There was to be no repeat of the strange London run, punctuated by the doping scandal and belated gold medal win. This was a masterclass.

“Semenya making a statement of intent in the first few metres” was the call as the South African powered away, instantly making up ground and taking the lead around the 100m merge. She led to the bell before being overtaken by Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba with 300m remaining.

Niyonsaba was working significantly harder than Semenya as Kenya’s Margaret Wambui emerged from midfield to challenge, taking third on the final bend. But it was Semenya’s cue.

Keeping far superior form, Semenya claimed the lead into the straight and torched her rivals over the final 100m; “She runs away and wins it brilliantly!” The margin was the best part of 10m from Niyonsaba and Wambui.

Her face was defiant. The bicep flex returned, before a smile and the shoulder-brush. She hugged Niyonsaba and raised her arms, a dominant back-to-back champion. “She has destroyed them in the last 200m, and that was the way a lot of people thought she would become the Olympic champion.”

Semenya ran 1:55.28 – another PB, and another national record. She has since dropped her best to 1:54.25, last June in Paris. It is the fourth-best women’s 800m time in history.

Czechoslovakia’s Jarmila Kratochvilova ran the women’s 800m world record of 1:53.28 back in 1983. There are major question marks over the time, set at that year’s world championships, due to potential doping by the atypically muscular 32-year-old.

Claims of an unfair advantage for Semenya are poles apart from conventional cheating; and the South African is not alone. Niyonsaba and Wambui have also faced scrutiny over their testosterone levels.

Semenya has not just outdone the single Olympic gold of her hero, Mutola, she has since matched the Mozambican’s three world championship golds. She is a superstar; but one who is difficult to reconcile for many sports fans.

South Africa's runner Caster Semenya

THE SPORT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME

“I am a woman and I am fast.” That has been Semenya’s simple retort to doubts over her legitimacy as a female athlete.

The elevation of the fight over her status to the CAS has prompted her lawyers to speak on her behalf. The language is not so plain, but the intent remains clear.

“Ms Semenya believes that she and other women affected by the [IAAF] regulations should be permitted to compete in the female category without discrimination, and celebrated for their natural talents as are all other athletes with genetic variations,” a statement said.

“The IAAF’s regulations do not empower anyone. Rather, they represent yet another flawed and hurtful attempt to police the sex of female athletes”.

It is a grey area. Social media musings over the case have drifted to other sports. Should basketball ban players above seven feet tall? Should there be limitations on foot size for swimmers? Should Lionel Messi be banned from using his freakish left foot? Then there have been claims of racism and sexism against a brilliant, black female athlete.

Tennis legend and LGBTI pioneer Billie Jean King has offered one of the most strident defences of Semenya. She tweeted: “My friend Caster Semenya is unequivocally female.

“Forcing women w/naturally high testosterone to give up ownership of their bodies and take drugs to compete in sport is barbaric, dangerous, and discriminatory. I stand behind her and hope she prevails.”

The IAAF claims that it is “empowering girls and women” by challenging athletes such as Semenya. It has cast itself as the defender of a level playing field.

“The female category in sport is a protected category,” an IAAF statement said.

“For it to serve its purposes, which include providing females opportunities equal to males, it must have eligibility standards that ensure athletes who identify as female but have testes, and testosterone levels in the male range, at least drop their testosterone levels into the female range in order to compete at the elite level in the female classification.

“This standard is necessary to ensure fair competition for all women. Indeed, without it, we risk losing the next generation of female athletes, since they will see no path to success in our sport.”

https://twitter.com/caster800m/status/1025699736450424832

It is a brutal charge: that a woman, by simply competing as she was created, could destroy the sport she loves. Semenya is still just 28.

We will discover the outcome from her five-day hearing in about one month. CAS’s judgment, delivered by three judges, is expected by the end of March.

Either outcome will change the simplest sport - run fast, first across the line wins - forever.

https://ift.tt/2BOEs3c
//

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