Athletics

Committee on sport urges South Africans to support Caster

Caster Semenya (AP)
Caster Semenya (AP)

Cape Town - The Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation has urged South Africans to support Caster Semenya, the country's 800 metres double Olympic champion, in her bid to appeal a new set of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulations aimed at lowering the allowed limits of testosterone in hyperandrogenic athletes.

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Committee chairperson Beauty Dlulane said the IAAF’s insistence on changing the regulations will lead to many people viewing it as a discriminatory world sporting organisation.

"There has to be justification in what the IAAF is proposing, because as things stand it appears they just want to slow Caster (down). For as long as Caster has competed, it has been the IAAF’s intention to change the regulations in order to disadvantage her.

"The IAAF’s actions towards Caster Semenya and other female athletes in Africa should be rejected with the contempt they deserve."

Dlulane emphasised the importance of denouncing racism and sexism in sport, particularly when it tries to hide in regulations.

Semenya has lodged an appeal against the new regulations, which were scheduled to come into effect in November 2018, delaying their implementation until the appeal has been resolved, which is expected on March 26, 2019.

Female athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) will be forced to medicate to reduce their testosterone levels if the new regulations are implemented.

The portfolio committee called on the world, including every South African, to support Semenya during this week’s hearing of the appeal against the regulation.

She welcomed the Department of Sport and Recreation’s high-level team to fight the case, as well as President Cyril Ramaphosa’s message of support.

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