South African Olympic champion and intersex athlete, Caster Semenya has accused world athletics’ governing body the IAAF of using her as ‘a human guinea pig’ to test its testosterone limit for intersex athletes.
The 28-year-old double Olympic 800 metres champion was reacting to the publication of the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s written decision to reject her appeal against the IAAF’s ‘eligibility regulations for the female classification (athletes with differences of sex development)’.
Back in May, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, ruled in favour of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that female athletes such as Semenya, who is intersex must take testosterone suppressants like the contraceptive pill to stay under the permitted level to continue competing as a woman in any running event between the 400m and the mile.
But the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) temporarily lifted the regulations affecting Semenya until June 25 after hearing submissions from the IAAF and Athletics South Africa over an appeal against a May 1 Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) award upholding the rules.
At the recently held IAAF Diamond League meet in Morocco, Semenya was denied entry by the president of the Moroccan Athletics Federation to participate in the competition.
In a statement released today, Semenya said: ‘The IAAF used me in the past as a human guinea pig to experiment with how the medication they required me to take would affect my testosterone levels.
Even though the hormonal drugs made me feel constantly sick, the IAAF now wants to enforce even stricter thresholds with unknown health consequences. I will not allow the IAAF to use me and my body again.
‘But I am concerned that other female athletes will feel compelled to let the IAAF drug them and test the effectiveness and negative health effects of different hormonal drugs. This cannot be allowed to happen.’
by Linda Ikeji