Mandla Mandela speaks out against IAAF bid to 'control Caster Semenya's body'

20 February 2019 - 11:06 By TimesLIVE
Salute: Mandla Mandela joins South Africans in support of Caster Semenya's right to compete without an "assault" on her human rights.
Salute: Mandla Mandela joins South Africans in support of Caster Semenya's right to compete without an "assault" on her human rights.
Image: Caster Semenya via Facebook

"We must fight discrimination in whatever shape or form it comes," Mandla Mandela, grandson of the late statesman Nelson Mandela, said on Wednesday, in support of SA's Olympian Caster Semenya.

In a hard-hitting statement, Mandela called for support domestically and internationally against what he views as an attack on Semenya's dignity, human rights and her right to compete free of any discrimination.

Semenya is this week fighting for her career at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Mandela said he appealed to the decision-makers "not to allow discrimination of any sort to be a determinant of an athlete's career - nor to allow any prescription from the IAAF that impinges on the dignity and fundamental human rights of Caster Semenya or any other athlete."

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is arguing that their case against Semenya was to ensure the continuation of women's sport.

In a statement issued on Monday – which has been slammed by Semenya's lawyers – the IAAF stated that athletes who "have testes and testosterone levels in the male range" must drop their testosterone levels to the female range if they want to compete as elite female athletes.

Mandela said: "We oppose the proposed imposition of testosterone levels as undue interference and tantamount to controlling Caster's body without consideration of her wishes or the long-term effects of such treatment."

"We continue to support the efforts of Athletics SA in its quest to protect the rights of our world champion and resist any attempts at discriminating against her.

"We call on all South Africans, local and international sports enthusiasts, and all who supported our decades-long struggle against apartheid discrimination, to stop this new assault on Caster Semenya's dignity, human rights and the right of all to compete free of any discrimination."


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