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Semenya camp lashes out at Coe for opening 'old wounds'

By The News · 30 of March 2019 01:29:51
AP Photo,, No available, FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018 file photo, Caster Semenya of South Africa celebrates winning the women's 800m at the IAAF track and field Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Caster Semenya's lawyers say the Olympic champion is "optimistic" of victory in her appeal against IAAF rules designed to control naturally high levels of testosterone in female athletes. The statement on Friday, March 22, 2019 came a day after the CAS said a decision in the pivotal case would be delayed until the end of April to allow for more legal debate. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, file)

Caster Semenya accused IAAF president Sebastian Coe of opening “old wounds” in an interview in an Australian newspaper, where he said the two-time Olympic 800-meter champion and other female athletes with high levels of naturally occurring testosterone were a threat to fairness in women’s sport.

In a statement released Wednesday, Semenya’s lawyers said Coe’s comments and the Daily Telegraph newspaper’s “innuendo” and “distorted” reporting reminded her of the scrutiny she was under at her first world championships in Berlin in 2009, when she won the 800 title as an 18-year-old after undergoing gender tests.

The lawyers said it brought back memories for her of those “intrusive medical examinations” in 2009 and “the scars Ms. Semenya has developed over the past decade run deep.”

Now 28, Semenya has taken the IAAF to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to challenge rules track’s governing body wants to introduce to lower the high levels of natural testosterone in some female athletes before they can compete in top-class races. A five-day hearing at the CAS was held last month and a decision is expected in late April.

In the interview, Coe was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying the IAAF’s testosterone rules were “to protect the sanctity of fair competition and fair play.”

The newspaper referred to Semenya as “muscle-packed” and “unbeatable.”


More AP coverage of Caster Semenya: