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There is no one better than Caster Semenya who can relate to the plight of Dutee Chand and the South African says the Indian should focus more on training than “boring and nonsense” discussion on her gender test.
Semenya, the Rio Olympics champion in women’s 800m, feels sorry for Chand since the Indian, just like her, is facing a gender test row. After winning the gold medal in the 2009 Berlin World Championships, questions were asked about Semenya’s gender and she ended up spending 11 months on the sidelines. The IAAF conducted a verification process before reinstating her.
Asked what she told Dutee when they met in Rio, Semenya said, “We did not talk much. We just exchanged ways and greetings and say how are you? That is it. She is a nice girl. She just needs to focus more on training and doing better for herself. I feel sorry for her, she is still young. But we are not the same, I do my things my own way.”
The Hyperandrogenism Policy of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) bars female athletes with high levels of testosterone from competing on the ground that they have an unfair advantage over their peers.
Dutee was banned by the Athletics Federation of India in 2014 under this policy but she challenged it in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne in Switzerland. In July 2015, the CAS overturned the ban and also suspended Hyperandrogenism Policy for two years. The world’s top sports tribunal asked the IAAF to provide conclusive evidence to prove the policy.
As the two year period ended last month, the IAAF has decided to go back to the CAS to submit fresh evidence. The hearing is expected towards the end of next month.
Semenya won a bronze medal in the women’s 1500m on Monday at the ongoing World Championships and is favourite to win gold in the 800m race later this week. Semenya, 26, dismissed this talk of gender testing as ‘boring’ and ‘nonsense’. “For me I have no time for this talk. It has been nearly nine years and it is boring. I focus on the future, not the past. For me it is quite boring if you keep on asking me about one question. There is nothing I can do, you have to understand that I am an athlete and I focus more on running and nothing else,” she said.
When reminded that the IAAF is set to submit fresh evidence at the CAS and a favourable decision for IAAF could jeopardise her career, Semenya said, “I really don’t have time for nonsense. I do not think about something that might happen in eight months. I don’t focus on the IAAF. It’s their business. My business is to train hard and see what I come up with in competition. Those are the writings that I’ve been seeing since 2009. Sometimes you get annoyed or you get bored. Such situations are a waste of time for me.”