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Caster Semenya: They Used Me Like a 'Guinea Pig'

Comments come in response to release of 163-page document
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2019 3:44 PM CDT
In this Friday, May 3, 2019 file photo, South Africa's Caster Semenya competes in the women's 800-meter final during the Diamond League in Doha, Qatar.   (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, file)

(Newser) – Caster Semenya had strong words for track's governing body on Tuesday: "I will not allow the IAAF to use me and my body again." The 28-year-old runner was ordered by the IAAF to get her testosterone beneath a certain threshold if she wants to compete in events ranging from distances of 400m to the mile, reports the BBC, a lowering that would be achieved through medication. But the drugs, which she was made to take between 2010 and 2015, left her feeling "constantly sick." ... 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," she said, per the Guardian, and "the IAAF now wants to enforce even stricter thresholds with unknown health consequences."

Semenya had appealed the IAAF's decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. That appeal was rejected 2-1, and the 163-page document outlining why has just been made public. It revealed that the IAAF believes Semenya to be a "biologically male [athlete] with female gender [identity]," which is why she must lower her testosterone if she wants to compete in female track events, reports the AP. In court, Semenya said the characterization of her as not a woman "hurts more than I can put in words." Though the CAS allowed that the IAAF's rule was discriminatory, if found such discrimination "necessary, reasonable, and proportionate" in terms of ensuring a level playing field among women. Semenya appealed the CAS verdict to Switzerland's supreme court, citing her human rights. That court temporarily suspend the IAAF's ruling. (Read more Caster Semenya stories.)

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