Athletics

Caster Semenya remains defiant in hormone battle: 'The drugs take the soul out of my body'

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Caster Semenya. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)
Caster Semenya. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)
  • Caster Semenya has reiterated that she will never use hormone suppressors as her battle against World Athletics' regulations continues.
  • The 30-year-old Olympic champion says such medication "takes the soul out of my body".
  • Semenya pleads fot the world governing body to show compassion for the issue, not only in her case, but for future athletes.  


Caster Semenya has once again emphatically reiterated that she will not take hormone supressors in order to be able to compete in her favoured 800m, stating such medication would "take the soul out of my body".

The 30-year-old Olympic champion is currently awaiting feedback from the European Court of Human Rights in terms of having her case against World Athletics' regulations that women with differences of sexual development (DSD) can't compete in any race between 400m and 1600m without treatment.

She's approached the court after failing in two other bids, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

"It’s taking the soul out of my body," Semenya told the Guardian.

"They want me to take my own system down. I’m not sick. I don’t need drugs. I will never do that."

Her legal representatives previously cautioned that she probably won't be able to defend the Olympic title won so nobly in Rio five years ago given time constraints, but there is the opportunity to get to Tokyo in the 5000m.

Semenya won the national title in the event last week though she will still need to shave 42 seconds off her winning time of 15:10 to meet the Olympic qualifying time.

She insists World Athletics' ruling infringes on the human rights of athletes in a similar position to her, adding that her naturally higher levels of testosterone don't translate into her not working as hard as others.

“I trained like a slave to be the greatest. I’ve watched Usain Bolt train. His training was insane and I am the same. My high testosterone levels are something I was born with, it’s a disorder," said Semenya

"It doesn’t make me the best, though. That’s where the training and knowledge comes in."

Semenya also pleaded with Sebastian Coe, World Athletics' president, for the governing to consider the compassionate nature of the issue.

"The message is very simple," she said.

"As a man, he should look into his [former] wife’s eyes and say to her: 'I gave you kids. If someone was treating our kids in this way, what would be your reaction?' He needs to think as a human, not as the president of an organisation.

"At the moment, we are trying to set things right for future generations because they are killing 800m women."

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