Caster Semenya: I’ve never felt supported by women athletes

Semenya relayed the story of how she got into running and the battles she has faced.

Olympic 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya speaking at the Top Women Conference in Johannesburg on 14 August 2019. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - South African Olympic champion Caster Semenya on Wednesday said she had never felt supported by international athletes during her career.

Semenya was speaking at the Standard Bank Top Women’s Awards 2019.

Semenya relayed the story of how she got into running and the battles she has faced.

“Since I've been in sports, I’ve never felt really supported, I never really felt recognised, especially by women, up until I do it myself... I go and confront most of the women,” she said during a panel discussion at the conference.

At a press briefing after the the conference, Semenya clarified that she meant international athletes were not supportive of her.

"What I know is we're are all athletes. We should be supporting each other whether we are losing or not. At the end of the day, when we walk into that arena, we walk in there knowing that there's someone who's going to finish in position one, and someone who is going to get position last," she said during the press briefing.

The athlete met a number of hurdles in her career with a recent ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federations on testosterone levels, which temporarily stopped her from competing. Semenya has since 2009 been undergoing controversial gender testing during international meets, which has drawn international criticism from doctors and athletes.

During this time, athletes such as the UK's Lindsay Sharpe, marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe and others were in support of Semenya being banned from her middle distance run.

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