Caster Semenya is furious at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe.
It started after the world athletics boss effectively questioned her gender when he said: “The reason we have gender classification is because if you didn’t then no woman would ever win another title or another medal or break another record in our sport,” in an article titled ‘the muscle-packed Semenya’.
In a statement, Semenya’s lawyers lambasted Coe for reopening the old wound for the world athlete of her gender being questioned.
Semenya, who recently challenged the IAAF’s proposed regulations for women athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) at world sport’s highest court in Switzerland, said Coe’s comments to the Australian Daily Telegraph were perpetuating innuendo.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne is expected to rule on the matter by the end of April.
“Reading the comments of Mr. Coe opened those old wounds and the reference by the Daily Telegraph to “the muscle-packed Semenya” is just the latest illustration of how the issues have been distorted by innuendo,” her lawyers said in a statement.
“Mr. Coe is wrong to think Ms Semenya is a threat to women’s sport. Ms Semenya is a woman. There is no debate or question about this and the IAAF does not dispute this.”
The statement by the lawyers for Semenya added that the comments took her back to the 2009 world champions in Berlin, where she burst onto the scene to win the famous 800m gold. This was after a story broke in Australia exposing her medical condition, leaked by the IAAF.
“She was 18 years old. The nature of the intrusive medical examinations that Ms Semenya was subjected to following the event were discussed publicly, including by the IAAF.
“The scars Ms Semenya has developed over the past decade run deep. She has endured and forged herself into a symbol of strength, hope and courage.”