Columns 20.8.2016 10:10 am

Let’s all get behind maligned Caster in the final

What is a worldwide sporting event without some controversy for the media to have a field day with?

As tomorrow approaches, Caster Semenya will be running the 800m women’s race finals. She came out and said that she is not looking to break any records, but instead would just like to come home with a medal.

As fans, it is human nature to want more. We fuel the participant with the seed that it is possible, and when it happens, we place them on our shoulders and celebrate them in the highest glory. This keeps humanity pushing the limits of human potential and I believe it is important for humans to evolve.

Nothing quite like human beings playing games to better their genetic code over time. Caster’s race will also be a well-watched and talked-about event in the world and there is no doubt some will be calling her a man behind her back.

Semenya was born with an intersex condition of which there are currently 46 different types, according to British gynaecologist Dr Peter Bowen-Simpkins of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology. The controversy might be seen as “is Semenya a man or woman”, but it is more about what is happening inside her that has sparked debate.

Men produce more testosterone than women and testosterone is responsible for the masculine features that males possess, increased muscle size and strength, and increase aggression.

Semenya has the condition termed hyperandrogenism and this simply means that her levels of testosterone are higher than the average female. This condition happens naturally in her body and some will say it has given her an unfair advantage over her competition. Here’s why: in order for another female athlete without hyperandrogenism to increase their testosterone levels, they would need to use banned substances. If these women are tested, it would easily be picked up that they are using performance-enhancing drugs.

Semenya is naturally producing a performance advantage and competitors feel that, because of this, she should not compete. According to the Olympic regulations, Semenya has not broken any rules, not cheated in any way and is covered by their rules and regulations and free to compete fairly in the Olympics.

I believe Semenya has what it takes to break the world record. She has a gift for running and incredible willpower to prove herself. Imagine if you were in Semenya’s shoes and had to walk around the Olympic village. Would you be able to handle the weird looks, the whispers and the overloud negative opinions, and constantly feel as though someone were judging you?

Semenya has to be one of the most mentally tough athletes on the planet and she must find inner peace, tranquillity and love in what she is doing, otherwise she would have packed it in a long time ago. In my eyes she is an amazing human being and deserves our respect, dignity and a country behind her. Make sure you have planned a big party tonight because I am going to need you to stay up until 2.15am tomorrow morning to watch Semenya take gold live in her 800m final. Let’s get behind our golden girl and let’s cheer for that gold.


today in print