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“I am a woman and I am fast” – South Africa’s Lesbian Olympian, Caster Semenya ahead of IAAF hearing

caster semenya iaaf

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is preparing for a hearing at the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland on Monday. Expected to attend Monday’s hearing is Semenya as is Lord Coe, president of the IAAF.At the hearing, IAAF lawyers will be arguing that 28-year-old double Olympic gold medal winner in the women’s 800 metres Caster Semenya and other runners like her should be treated as female but are biologically male and should take testosterone suppressants before competing in middle-distance events in which the hormone has its greatest effect. A statement from Semenya’s lawyer Jim Bunting said that the Olympian should be allowed to compete in women’s races without “unnecessary medical intervention”. It added: “Her case is about the rights of women such as Ms. Semenya who are born as women, reared and socialised as women, who have been legally recognised as women for their entire lives, who have always competed in athletics as women, and who should be permitted to compete in the female category without discrimination.

“Women with differences in sexual development have genetic variations that are no different than other genetic variations that are celebrated in sport. She asks that she be respected and treated as any other athlete: Her genetic gift should be celebrated, not discriminated against. Ms Semenya is unquestionably a woman, a heroine and an inspiration to so many around the world. She looks forward to responding to the IAAF at the upcoming CAS hearing, including establishing why these regulations are discriminatory, unfair, deeply harmful and unnecessary.”
Semenya said last year: “I am very upset that I have been pushed into the public spotlight again. I don’t like talking about this new rule. 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. I am Mokgadi Caster Semenya. I am a woman and I am fast.” Born in a village in northern South Africa, Semenya won the world junior 800m title in 2009 and the senior world 800m the following year, but only after taking a gender verification test.

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