Continued support for #NaturallySuperior Semenya

Friday, March 1, 2019

South Africans and the internal community have been urged to endorse the #NaturallySuperior campaign as Caster Semenya continues her fight against proposed regulations by athletics’ world governing body.

“We should seek to ensure that the South African voice is clearly heard until this ruling is made and our call to the rest of humanity to take a stand against discriminatory practices and subtle racism, wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head,” said Minister of Sport and Recreation, Tokozile Xasa, on Thursday.

The #NaturallySuperior campaign is a rally for a bid by the country's 800-meter double Olympic champion Semenya who is appealing the hyperandrogenism regulations, introduced by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The regulations seek to force athletes to take medication, to reduce the levels of testosterone in their bodies or be forced to compete with men.

The regulations were originally scheduled to come into effect in November 2018 but were delayed after Semenya lodged an appeal against them.

Xasa says government is opposed to these regulations as they seek to punish athletes who are endowed with physical traits, attributes and abilities, naturally, and subject them to medical procedures that seek to alter who they are.

“We believe that this is tantamount to modernising barbarism and is indeed an attempt at civilising cruelty as well as making discriminatory practices acceptable in a world that should be steeped in a human rights culture.”

Government had appointed a High-Level Panel to coordinate Semenya's response to these regulations and the work was divided into three work streams, namely, the medical, the legal and the social mobilisation.

The teams presented the case to the Court for Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland last week. It is expected that the CAS will give its ruling at the end of March 2019 or soon thereafter.

Xasa says she was optimistic that they have mounted and presented a formidable case.

“As a nation, we remain indebted to both the Legal and Medical team that worked tirelessly to ensure we have a winnable case,” said Xasa, adding that the case is not only about the human rights, also about that of many other young athletes who might not have a voice. –