SA shows huge support as #CasterSemenya sets personal best with 3rd gold win

(Photo: AP)
(Photo: AP)

Cape Town - It's clear that South Africans across the globe love SA's defending Olympic champion Caster Semenya and will not tolerate any trolling of her gender. 

The South African has been dogged by gender accusations since shooting to fame in 2009, and even more so before winning a third world title in the women's 800m on Sunday, 13 August.

Semenya, the defending Olympic champion and also world champion in 2009 and 2011, timed 1:55.16, the fastest time of the year so far.

Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba, the Olympic silver medallist and world indoor champion, finished second in 1:55.92, with American Ajee Wilson taking bronze (1:56.65).

'Back in the spotlight following a study funded by the IAAF and the World Anti-Doping Agency'

Semenya is back in the spotlight following a study funded by the IAAF and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that showed female athletes with naturally high levels of testosterone enjoy a competitive advantage of up to 4.5 percent over their rivals.

The 26-year-old South African was one of a number of women taking medication to lower her testosterone level until 2015 when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) suspended an IAAF rule that enforced a limit on naturally occurring levels. 

'Concentrating on her track performances'

Semenya has studiously avoided the controversy, instead concentrating on her track performances and she won a bronze in the highly competitive 1 500m on Monday in the opening race of her ambitious bid for a distance double.

Semenya, who stands to be awarded the 2012 Olympic gold medal after Russian winner Mariya Savinova was disqualified for doping, now has to await further meetings between the IAAF and CAS to discover if she again has to take testosterone suppressing medication.

Backlash around Caster's portrayal of herself as a man in her personal life has been at the centre of a twitter war started by Mail Online columnist Katie Hopkins who has refused to back down from her negative commentary on the South African Olympic medallist.

Hopkins suggested that it was unfair that Semenya competed in women's athletics because of questions around her gender, saying "back in January, Caster even married her girlfriend in a traditional wedding ceremony, appearing in the guise of a man. Yet, curiously enough, out here on the track, Semenya identifies as a woman."

In November 2006 South Africa became the country ito legalise same-sex marriage.

News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson joined a chorus of South Africans who jumped to Semenya's defence, arguing that South African law allowed people to get married however they wished. Read the full report here

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