South African athlete Caster Semenya has received negative attacks from the international media for her participation as a woman in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
An international sports magazine questioned whether the 25-year old Semenya should be allowed to compete against women at the Olympics, following the results that she has high level of testosterone.
According to Yahoo, London Marathon world-record holder Paula Radcliffe claimed that Semenya winning the gold in the Olympics would be a disgrace to the sport.
“A victory by the South African in middle-distance running would trigger a feeding frenzy among the other countries to scour for female athletes with high level of testosterone,” said Radcliffe.
The sports magazine described her one of those East German female hammer throwers of the sixties and seventies, whose young bodies were irredeemably masculated by cruel state-sponsored doping programmes.
The New Yorker also attacked Semenya and said even though she is identified as a woman, she has many of the physiological features of a man, including internal testes and an exceptionally high testosterone level. It added she shouldn’t be allowed to compete as a woman.
Semenya’s ordeal began six years ago when the International Association of Athletics Federations subjected the athlete to gender tests.
It was then found out that she has naturally higher than average testosterone levels. Furthermore, it was discovered that she has no womb or ovaries, and instead, owing to a chromosomal abnormality, internal testes.
In the same year, Semenya was denied the opportunity to compete in a Stellenbosch track and field event pending the probe into her gender.
Since the attacks, South Africans have joined forces and slammed the international media by saying their criticism for Semenya was humiliating and demoralising and added that it creates the impression an African woman can’t excel in sport.
Semenya supporters went on and created a hashtag: #HandsOffCaster on Twitter to further express the support they have for her.
Even though there are tons of questions on whether Semenya should compete as a woman, South Africans continue to tout her as the gold winner for the women’s 800m.
Semenya is schedule to run in the 800m on Wednesday.
By Rachel Sigida and Senzile Kubheka