Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Shameful Treatment of South African Athlete Caster Semenya

I am sitting here watching the World Athletics Championships and am really outraged at the way the whole Caster Semenya - is she a man or a woman? - thing is being handled? The South African 800 metre runner has been the talk of the championships today.

Granted, she does look rather masculine, but she is also a human being and innocent until proven guilty! All the speculation over her gender must be so upsetting for her.

If she was suspected of being a drugs cheat, she would be tested in private and nothing would be made public until both the A and B samples had been analysed. However, in this case the whole world seems to know that she is due to be tested. Why was this information released? I think it is really unfair.

She also had to go out and run, with all that media speculation too, which must have been horrible, particularly if it turns out that she is in fact a woman. She won by the way!

Even if she does turn out to be a man, it still could have been handled in a much better way because at this stage we still don't know for sure.
What do you think?


Anonymous said...

This is called discrimination.
She might have been living through all this her entire - yet very short - life and she's certainly upset! If I were next to her I would probably tell her that what she accomplished just showed how little those who raised the question are. Caster made athletics her reason of life, to get to that level in so little, and she did great, succeeding.

And by the way: I totally agree with you, dear poster. For once in a while someone seems to care about values. Keep up the good work!

Bryony said...

i agree - it seems completely unfair to do this so publicly. Poor girl.

Anonymous said...

It is not a question of whether Caster Semenya is a man or a woman and it is not a question of guilt or innocence. The question is: Does Caster Semenya meet the requirements for international women's athletics competition? It is a fact of life that not everyone's gender is so unambiguous and a line must be draw as to who can participate in women's competition, otherwise there is no point in having a men's and women's division. It is not a simple matter of looking at a persons genitalia, as many people have so ignorantly suggested.

It is Semanya's support team, including the ASA who have been insensitive here. They should have either conducted a comprehensive gender test earlier or advised her not to participate in the world championships. I think there were too many people too hungry for medal glory. The IAAF could not legally pull her from the competition until the test results were finalised or they would have exposed themselves to legal prosecution. Further more, the IAAF could not officially conduct a gender test until they received an official complaint from the competitors. South African Athletics officially should have anticipated the scrutiny Caster Semenya would be put under and acted decisively to protect their athlete.

Getting to the facts of this matter is not helped by the way it has exploded all over the internet and every ignoramus with an opinion can put their own twist on it. The most despicable are those who think this is about race or gender discrimination. We are so used to putting people into the girl group or the boy group that we don't even consider if that is the way that nature always works.

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