Female athlete Caster Semenya called a “biological man” by Spain’s former athletics head

South African female athlete Caster Semenya. (IAAF). Credit: Shutterstock

Semenya is currently fighting for her right to run competitively, after the IAAF ruled that women with a so-called difference of sexual development (DSD) would need to take hormones to lower their testosterone levels in order to compete.
The South African female athlete Caster Semenya has been called “biologically male” by a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) board of directors. José María Odriozola, a professor of biochemistry who is also the former president of Spain’s athletics body, made the comments in an recent interview. He said that Semenya is “biologically a man” who has “a huge advantage” over her rivals. The comments have come when Odriozola was defending the IAAF regulations on limiting testosterone levels for female athletes – limits that do not apply to male athletes.

The restrictions on Semenya competing were temporarily overturned by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court on June 3, though the IAAF is trying to have them reinstated. Critics say the IAAF has been ‘blatantly racist’ in Semenya’s case.

Semenya has been battling the IAAF since 2018, when the governing body first introduced its limits on women with high testosterone levels. As a result, she was told that she could either take treatment to change her natural hormone levels, or else compete in any men’s event of her choosing.

Semenya has repeated time and again that she is a woman and intends to compete as one.

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Cristina Hodgson

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