Caster Semenya on new testosterone study: ‘I don’t have time for idiots’
Caster Semenya is focused on upcoming university exams, not on racing at the moment. What about the IAAF- and WADA-funded study that could sideline the Olympic 800m champion from competition?
“I don’t have time for idiots” when asked for her views on the study, according to Sowetan in South Africa. “I don’t have time for people who don’t care about me.”
The study found that women who produce higher-than-normal amounts of testosterone have up to a 4.5 percent advantage over their competition on the track.
The IAAF will use the new study in its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which in 2015 suspended an IAAF rule that enforced a limit on female athletes’ naturally occurring testosterone levels. The appeal will not affect August’s world championships, where Semenya is expected to go for her third 800m title.
Semenya has been under unwanted scrutiny ever since word leaked in 2009, just before she won the 800m world title as a 19-year-old, that track officials mandated that she undergo sex testing.
The IAAF rules were introduced in 2011. She was suspended for 11 months and came back to win silver at the 2012 London Games behind Russian Maria Savinova, who has since been stripped of her gold for doping.
Semenya then had a lull in performance before peaking in 2016, going undefeated in 800m races, twice breaking the national record and comfortably winning Olympic gold.
Semenya has never spoken publicly in detail about her condition. It has never been publicly verified that Semenya’s body naturally produces abnormally high levels of testosterone or that she ever took hormone suppressants.
Her default position is generally to talk only about her running, but she spoke out against her critics in a speech after accepting South Africa’s Sportswoman of the Year in November.
“They say she talks like a man, she walks like a man, she runs like a man,” Semenya said, before finishing off the series with an Afrikaans word that loosely translates to “Get lost.”
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The Associated Press and NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.