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Caster Semenya’s team has hit out at IAAF boss Sebastian Coe, accusing him of “opening old wounds” as the highly-publicised Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) case continues.
Coe and the IAAF are trying to pass a change that will see a limit placed on how much natural testosterone a female athlete can have in her body in certain races.
Semenya, a double 800m Olympic champion, would be directly impacted by the change and would be forced to take medication to lower her natural levels of testosterone should she wish to keep competing.
The case has drawn worldwide attention and will shape the future of women’s athletics, and the CAS has stated that it will only reach a decision towards the end of April.
While she has been largely quiet on the matter, Semenya’s camp was vocal on Tuesday night in giving a statement.
“The scars Ms Semenya has developed over the past decade run deep. She has endured and forged herself into a symbol of strength, hope and courage. Reading the comments of Mr Coe this weekend opened those old wounds.”
Coe told the Australia’s Daily Telegraph over the weekend that “the reason we have gender classification is because if you didn’t then no woman would ever win another title or another medal or break another record in our sport”.
The rest of the statement was equally powerful, highlighting the struggles Semenya has faced over the years.
“Ms Semenya is a woman. There is no debate or question about this and the IAAF does not dispute this. She was born a woman, raised a woman, socialised as a woman and has competed as a woman her entire life.
“These differences should be celebrated in sports like all other genetic variations that make elite events worth watching.”