5,000 and climbing: Petition for Caster Semenya gains ground

20 February 2019 - 13:52 By TimesLIVE
Thousands of South Africans have signed a petition of support for embattled athlete Caster Semenya.
Thousands of South Africans have signed a petition of support for embattled athlete Caster Semenya.
Image: Instagram/ Caster Semenya

Perceptions of track star Caster Semenya being unfairly targeted over her genetic make-up have spurred thousands into signing a petition of support for her fight against international athletics bosses.

Lindi Dlamini commented: "The haranguing of Caster has to stop. She excels not just because of high testosterone levels, but because she trains hard too. Everyone is entitled to take advantage of natural advantage whether intellectual or physical."

"She's a woman, no question. Discrimination must stop," Zixolile Madabane said.

The Hands Off Caster Semenya petition has 5,098 signatories so far, with a target of 7,500.

Lulamile Myakayaka states: "I urge you to sign this petition so we can save athletes like Caster from under going such unpleasant procedures especially when questioning matters beyond their control. How do we question her genes? Did she choose to be who she is? Certainly not, let us support our sister. If Caster was not a champion, would this be an issue if she lost in competitions?? Definitely not, lets help stop this IAAF ruling and support our athletes."

Racial and gender discrimination were cited by many of the people who responded.

Keletso Moleko asked: "If they do this to women, why don't they do it to men who have higher testosterone levels than the average man?"

Charmaine Dliwayo said: "I'm a woman who's tired of being discriminated against, so stop discrimination against Caster."

"Caster is an international superstar, her womanhood is being questioned because she is black," said Boitumelo Masonganye.

Jen Shinta commented: "Double standards in the sports industry are disgusting. Why don't they get men who excel to harness their abilities?" (sic).

Lerato Malapane said: "Women have been oppressed for far too long, mostly it is African women who always go through the worst. Now our own star can't compete due to the western rules and regulations that are baseless and nonsense."

There are also strong sentiments of sympathy for Semenya as a person.

KaBhundela Dandala-Chestnut commented: "It’s her body, her rights!" while Lance Longwe shared: "I'm sure she deserves better ... Back off".

"Discrimination based on how God created each individual is wrong and should not be tolerated, let alone promoted," said Nkosingiphile Nzuza.

Tatenda Chibanda said: "Caster deserves respect from all humanity."