Caster Semenya accuses Sebastian Coe of ‘opening old wounds’ – The Guardian

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• South African hits back over IAAF president’s comments • ‘He is wrong to think she is a threat to women’s sport’ A decision in Caster Semenya’s dispute with the IAAF has been postponed by CAS until next month. Photograph: Laurent Gilliéron/EPA Caster Semenya has accused Sebastian Coe of “opening old wounds” after his comments about the double Olympic champion in a newspaper article. The South African middle-distance runner has challenged the International Association of Athletics Federations’ attempt to force her to take testosterone-lowering medication. Lord Coe, the IAAF president, told the Australian Daily Telegraph: “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.” Semenya hit back at Coe and the governing body of world athletics by highlighting her suffering in a statement. “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,” read a statement. “Reading the comments of Mr Coe opened those old wounds and the reference by the Daily Telegraph (Australia) to ‘the muscle-packed Semenya’ is just the latest illustration of how the issues have been distorted by innuendo.” The court of arbitration for sport has postponed a decision in the landmark dispute over testosterone limits for female athletes until next month. The IAAF wants to set a limit on the amount of testosterone female athletes can have in their blood, forcing those with a high level of the hormone to take medication to reduce the level closer to the normal female range. “Ms Semenya does not wish to undergo medical intervention to change who she is and how she was born. She wants to compete naturally,” the statement added. “Women with DSDs are born with rare genetic differences. These differences should be celebrated in sports like all other genetic variations that make elite events worth watching. “Mr Coe is wrong to think Ms Semenya is a threat to women’s sport. Ms Semenya is a heroine and inspirational role model for young girls around the world who dream of achieving excellence in sport. Ms Semenya hopes and dreams that one day she can run free of judgement, free of discrimination and in a world where she is accepted for who she is.”
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