'God made me the way I am': Caster Semenya fires back at IAAF gender rules

02 May 2018 - 10:13 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Caster Semenya celebrates winning the Women's 800m final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Caster Semenya celebrates winning the Women's 800m final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Image: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Caster Semenya has fired back at her critics after new regulations were proposed to compel women athletes with high levels of naturally occurring testosterone to take medication to reduce them.

The new hyperandrogenism rule by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) lays down a series of criteria for athletes with a Difference of Sexual Development (DSD) to be eligible to compete internationally in certain events.

Semenya, who is the reigning world and Olympic champion over 800m, took to Twitter with a series of defiant posts in response to the latest move:

The rule applies to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m, hurdles races, 800m, 1500m, one mile races and combined events over the same distances. The IAAF’s medical and science department says it has data showing a significant advantage for hyperandrogenous athletes over such distances. 

The new rule will come into effect in November unless overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


Meanwhile‚ Professor Steve Cornelius has resigned as a member of the IAAF Disciplinary Tribunal in protest against the new rule.

According to Team South Africa‚ Cornelius penned a letter to the president of the IAAF‚ citing his reasons for stepping down.

“On deep moral grounds‚ I cannot see myself part of a system in which I may be called upon to apply regulations which I deem to be fundamentally flawed and most likely unlawful in various jurisdictions around the globe‚” Cornelius said in the letter.

“It would also be unethical for me to devote time and energy to expose the warped ideology behind the new regulations while serving on the Disciplinary Tribunal.

“It was at first an honour to be appointed to the IAAF Tribunal‚ but sadly I cannot‚ with good conscience‚ continue to associate myself with an organisation which insists on ostracising specific individuals‚ all of them female‚ for no reason other than being what they are born to be.

“The adoption of the new eligibility regulations for female classification is based on the same kind of ideology that has led to some of the worse injustices and atrocities in the history of our planet.”

- additional reporting by Reuters