GENDER DEBATE Caster Semenya: Should South African middle distance runner compete as a woman at 2016 Rio Olympics?

South African - who won Olympic silver at London 2012 - has levels of testosterone levels three times higher than an average woman due to hyperandrogenism.


CASTER SEMENYA is tipped to dominate in the women’s 800m on Wednesday – but there are those who believe she has an unfair advantage. The South African was controversially forced to undergo gender testing by the IAAF before being cleared to compete in 2010 due to a rare condition

Semenya – who won World Championships gold in the 800m in 2009 and added an Olympic silver at London 2012 – has levels of testosterone levels three times higher than is expected in women due to hyperandrogenism.

She has no no womb or ovaries but, because of a chromosomal abnormality, internal testes.

Semenya identifies as a woman – as is anybody’s right – but some would label her as intersex.

And Joanna Harper – a member of a panel that advises the International Olympic Committee on gender issues – believes intersex athletes could dominate certain events.
Caster Semenya: Should South African middle distance runner compete as a woman at 2016 Rio Olympics?
Caster Semenya: Should South African middle distance runner compete as a woman at 2016 Rio Olympics?

She said: “I believe that it is not unreasonable to suggest that half of the eight-woman 800m final in Rio might well be intersex.

“And it is not unlikely that three presumably intersex women will sweep the podium.”.

The issue arises over the wish not to unfairly discriminate against female athletes who have higher testosterone levels through no fault of their own while ensuring a level playing field.
But where there is no evidence whatsoever of doping – as in Semenya’s case – it is difficult to end an athlete’s dreams without a clear reason why.

And in modern society which is increasingly leaning towards viewing gender on a scale as opposed to opposites, opinion is firmly behind Semenya’s right to represent her country in Brazil.
www.thesun.co.uk

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