Caster Semenya is the one that runs faster than all in the 800 meters for a decade. The Olympic and world champion. It is the native of the town of Ga-Masehlong located in the province of Limpopo, in the north-east of South Africa. The daughter of Dorcus and Jacob. The athlete who is married to Violet Raseboya, his lifelong girlfriend. It’s the one that made athleticism his passion. The one who suffered a lot of humiliation and questioning because his physical appearance resembles that of a man. It’s the one that never made it easy. It is to that now, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) imposes you to change your body in order to continue doing what you know most: compete in your favorite test.
On May 3, caster Semenya won the 800 meters in the Diamond League of Doha, the last appointment before the new rule becomes effective
The harvest of each title in the life of Semenya since its explosion as an athlete could never be fully satisfactory, rather, it was always impregnated with a scent of suspicion. Thus it happened since its first consecration as world champion in the World Cup in Berlin 2009, when it was known that IAAF had submitted it to a test to see if its differences in sexual development gave it an “advantage”. She has hyperandrogenism, ie high values of androgens that generate male sexual characteristics. Medicate to compete
The most difficult race for the 28-year-old South African began in November 2018, when the IAAF promoted a new rule in which athletes with high levels of androgens should lower them with medication to compete in the tests of 400 MTS, 400 MTS with hurdles , 800 MTS, 1500 MTS and La Milla (1,609 mts). Despite the appeal to the rule, the Sport arbitral Tribunal (TAS) turned its back on Semenya’s claim and, as of May 8, the regulation came into force.
“What is right and right is hard to define. From my perspective as an athlete, I would feel unfair competing with someone who has such high testosterone levels, because that implies a lot of factors that benefit you. But I also understand that it is a natural thing of his body and I am not the one to say what she should do with her body, “said Jennifer Dahlgren in a dialogue with Filo News about the rule that promoted the IAAF. In addition, the hammer pitcher and recent bronze medal winner in the South American Lima, said that the rules should not only apply to some tests, but to all disciplines that make up athletics. “They should apply it uniformly, that is, all the evidence. Because it’s not fair to choose which one and which is not. Either it’s universal law for all athletes or it’s not. ”
For his part, Belén Casetta pointed out points for and against regulation. “On the one hand I see it well, because she has a condition that most women do not have. Having more testosterone has more oxygenation, more muscle mass, much more strength. ” And in contrast, he said: “But I also see it wrong, because it is not normal to medicate a person to lower their testosterone levels and may be competing ‘ normally ‘ among women who have equitable levels.” The Marplatense specialist in the 3,000 meters with obstacles that hung the silver medal in the South American, also suggested the creation of an own category for athletes with Hyperandrogenism. “It would be fair to make an exclusive category for athletes with that type of condition and not to decrease testosterone with a drug that is not good for their health,” he said.
Differences in sexual development
Dr. Patricia Sangenis, president of the Women in Sport commission of the Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) and member for 20 years of the Medical commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), spoke with Filo News and gave details of the case of caster Semenya. What is the Hyperandrogenism?
“It is a genetic alteration characterized by elevated levels of androgens that may be accompanied by female external genitalia and male reproductive organs, such as lack of uterus and ovaries, and undescended testicles.”
Effects on sports Performance
Athletes with high androgen values who want to compete in the tests indicated by the IAAF, must keep six months before the competition the value of 5 or less nanomoles per liter of blood. To be authorized, they will be monitored periodically. ” Testosterone increases muscle mass, strength and hemoglobin, among many other effects, “explained the specialist, who also commented that according to studies conducted by the IAAF in 3000 male and female athletes, there is a relationship between the values of testosterone and Sports performance in half-distance testing. In that line, he said, “it is very likely that the medication you should take to reduce the level of androgens will affect your performance and times in the same distances.” And he added, “All hormonal treatment brings side effects. It will depend on the dose, the time used and the organic response which is absolutely individual. ” Before Caster Semenya, there were many other caster Semenya
Making a historical review of the obstacles that women had to overcome over the years to be respected and win a place in the sport, Sangeris contributed: “Women are the only ones who have had to prove that they are women for 50 years (since 1967). They had to do it through a Sex test that was evolving from an inspection, a gynecological check, oral smear, chromosomal studies, studies with appliances, ultrasound, tomography, up to now reach the measurement of testosterone “. When was the first time a Sex text was made?” Little is known, but they began to be used at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. ” Casually, that Olympic date is remembered because Henrietta Basilio became the first woman to ignite the Olympic censer.
Enriqueta Basilio at the 1968 Mexican Olympics: He became the first woman to ignite the Olympic censer
Despite the humiliation and unlike other athletes who had no other way to retire in silence, the South African athlete has the support of his people, his government and his federation. Far from twisting their convictions, Semenya was enrolled days ago to compete in the 3,000-metre race of the Prefontaine Classic, which will be held next June 30th in Stanford, USA. A completely new distance for the multichampion who, without saying it, made explicit his message: No one will force her to get high. In this note: