For the past few months, it’s been Caster Semenya vs “The Man”, but the middle-distance ace has found a sympathizer in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach.
Semenya shrugged off controversy that has followed her throughout her entire career by finishing first in the Doha leg of the IAAF Diamond League on Friday, setting a new meet record with a time of 1:54.98.
This was her first public appearance since the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in the IAAF’s favour in a landmark case which meant that the 28-year-old will have to take testosterone-suppressing medication to continue competing in any race between the 400m and the 1500m.
However, Bach – who spoke at a media conference in Australia during an IOC general meeting – was caught between sympathizing with the athlete and agreeing with the federation’s assertion that the ruling is in the interest of “fair competition”.
“Having said this, the issue as such is extremely complex.
“It has scientific impact, it has ethical impact, it impacts on fair play in competition so it’s extremely delicate and it’s extremely difficult to do justice to all these
“The IOC respects CAS decisions, as we always do, but from a human point of view, yes, I have sympathy for her.”
Semenya was a late addition to the field in Doha, having made herself available on Wednesday.
The new regulations will only come into effect on Wednesday, 8 May. But however, the Olympic champion has signalled that she has no intentions of taking drugs to reduce her testosterone levels with a simple “hell no!”.