Team GB athlete slams Olympics intersex rules as Caster Semenya wins Gold
A Team GB athlete has claimed that rules allowing hyperandrogenous athlete Caster Semenya to compete in women’s sports are unfair – after she took Olympic Gold.
South African distance runner Caster Semenya won the gold medal in the women’s 800 meters event at the Rio Olympics over the weekend.
The runner was subjected to humiliating gender tests back in 2009 – after media controversy over her “abnormally” high testosterone level for a female athlete.
Semenya, who is chromosomally female, is believed to have a rare hyperandrogenist intersex condition that leads to the production of more testosterone than usual.
She fought a long battle to compete at the highest level, and took part in the Olympics after the International Association of Athletics Federations’s regulations on the issue were overturned.
But some rivals have complained that Semenya’s hyperandrogenism gives her an “unfair” advantage over other female athletes.
Team GB athlete Lynsey Sharp, who came sixth in the event, told the BBC directly after the race that the rules needed “sorting out”.
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She said: “I have tried to avoid the issue all year. You can see how emotional it all was.
“We know how each other feel, but it is out of our control and how much we rely on people at the top sorting it out.
Sobbing during the interview, she continued: “The public can see how difficult it is with the change of rule but all we can do is give it our best.
“I was coming down the home straight, we were not far away and you can see how close it is. That is encouraging. We will work hard and aim to come back even stronger.”
She said previously: “Everyone can see it’s two separate races so there’s nothing I can do.”
In a statement, she said: “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Caster. She is someone who I talk to regularly on the circuit. I have known and competed against her since 2008. Media and politics should not distract from her performance.
“When asked on live TV, I felt I gave an honest and diplomatic response. I refused to answer questions from any other media on the topic. As you can imagine, it’s frustrating to finish a race to be asked about your competitor’s performance.”