Caster Semenya says female athletes have never offered her support

Caster Semenya addresses a lack of support from female athletes as she fights against a ruling to reduce testosterone levels in women’s athletics.

Caster Semenya
Caster Semenya of South Africa celebrates winning the women's 800m at the IAAF track and field Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic in Sept. 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, file)

Olympic champion Caster Semenya who has high levels of testosterone and has battled for position for fairness in competing in women’s sports, says that women have barely come to her aid in support.

On Wednesday, the South African athlete spoke during a women’s conference in Johannesburg about the lack of help other women have offered as she fights against a ruling to reduce testosterone levels in women’s athletics, The HuffPost reports.

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“Since I have been in sports I have never really felt very supported, I’ve never felt recognized mostly by women,” said Semenya.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) supports the idea to reduce testosterone levels in women’s athletics, but it has also been criticized by human rights organizations and accused of being biased against female athletes like Semenya with high levels of naturally occurring testosterone.

In March, Semanya earned the support of the United Nations Human Rights Council which adopted a resolution to back her.

“I think it comes more into the international stage when you see your own rivals come with this… what can I call it… these rude responses in terms of me competing against them,” said Semenya.

Semenya can’t compete at the world championships in September after a court ruled she could compete with elevated testosterone levels, the Swiss Federal Tribunal reversed that ruling. Now the two-time Olympic 800-meter champion won’t be able to defend her title.

If she wants to compete, she will be forced to medicate to suppress her testosterone levels in September in Doha, Qatar.

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But she has vowed to keep fighting.

“Whoever is going to stop me from running is going to have to drag me out of the track,” the 28-year-old said.

“In terms of changing events, I haven’t decided anything about moving up or moving down. I still consider myself a middle-distance runner,” Semenya said.