#LetHerRun movement to back Caster Semenya in her fight to compete

South Africa's runner Caster Semenya, current 800-meter Olympic gold medalist and world champion, arrives for the first day of her hearing at the international Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. Picture: Laurent Gillieron / Keystone via AP

The #LetHerRun movement aims at pressuring World Athletics ‘in the face of the unequal treatment, calling for a counter-decision on the banning of athletes’.

A #LetHerRun movement has been established to support female athletes banned from participating in official events because they have above average natural testosterone levels.

South Africa’s Caster Semenya is among those athletes recently in the news after her unsuccessful attempt at the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to overturn World Athletics’ regulations that force women competing in 400m, 800m and 1 500m events to take hormone suppressants.

The movement, which claims these athletes “are faced with injustices” , was propelled by a coalition of former athletes, sports scientists and doctors.

Among them is the ambassador of the initiative, former volleyball player Jackie Silva, who along with her partner, Sandra Pires, were the first Brazilian women gold medallists in the Olympic Games.

The movement features a film portraying the “nude parades” and embarrassment caused to female athletes.

ALSO READ: ‘I will continue to fight’ – Semenya after losing appeal against controversial athletics rules

The #LetHerRun movement aims at pressuring World Athletics “in the face of the unequal treatment, calling for a counter-decision on the banning of athletes” .

Silva commented via a press statement: “Caster’s case deserves our attention because it affects the destiny of dozens of other athletes who will have their careers ended prematurely simply because they were born out of the standards imposed by technocrats from a regulatory agency.

“Why hasn’t the natural hormone production invalidated any male career ever? Has anyone stopped to compare Usain Bolt’s levels of testosterone to those of Justin Gatlin, for instance?”

World Athletics still demands from female athletes a proof of biological sex and during the Moscow Olympics in 1980, Silva unbeknownst took one of these tests.

“The history of Olympic Sports is paved with big events of overcoming obstacles that inspire human improvement. But the case of Caster is a betrayal of this heritage. It is a step back that belittles the Olympic dream of solidarity and inclusion. I hope we don’t see this mistake happening again in some decades from now,” said Katia Rubio, teacher at the Physical Education and Sports School at University of Sao Paulo, who is also one of the movement’s consultants.

Banned from competing, Semenya currently works in the technical team of a female soccer team in her home country.

“I refuse to let World Athletics drug me or stop me from being who I am,” Semenya said about the court decision.

“Excluding female athletes or endangering our health solely because of our natural abilities puts World Athletics on the wrong side of history.

“I will continue to fight for the human rights of female athletes, both on the track and off the track, until we can all run free the way we were born.”

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