For the first time since she was reinstated by the IAAF to compete, South African 800m world champion Caster Semenya faced world class competition in her event.
On Sunday she ran her third race since she was was forced to sit out 11 months to undergo gender verification testing at the behest of the IAAF after running the fifth fastest 800m time for a woman in last year's World Championships.
She returned to the scene of last year's triumph in Berlin and showed little effects from the alleged HRT she's undergoing and lack of elite level competition. She won the race by closing a 20 meter gap down the homestretch to win in 1:59:90.
But her competitors are still chomping Hater Tots and drinking Hateraid Fierce from 55 gallon drums.
British runner Jemma Simpson, who finished fourth in this race, let loose in a Telegraph interview.
"It's obviously a human rights issue but human rights affect everyone in the race, not just one person," Simpson said. "The rest of the field just gets ignored. No way is it a personal issue but it's a debate about what is right and fair for everyone. It's a really tough subject and a lot of people are very careful about what they say. You have to be.
"You have to be diplomatic and keep your opinions to yourself but sometimes it is so frustrating."
Canadian runner Diane Cummins plied on in her interviews comments.
"Unfortunately for Caster, she's grown up in an environment that is complicated not just for her but for human science. Basically, is she man, is she lady? What constitutes male, what constitutes female?"
"Even if she is a female, she's on the very fringe of the normal athlete female biological composition from what I understand of hormone testing. So, from that perspective, most of us just feel that we are literally running against a man."
"It is certainly frustrating to be running against someone who seems to be doing it effortlessly. We all believe that Caster Semenya, pushed to her full potential, could break the world record.
Well, lets see what her family has to say.
Semenya's grandmother said in a BBC interview last year, "I know she’s a woman – I raised her myself. If you go at my home village and ask any of my neighbors, they would tell you that Mokgadi (Semenya's given name) is a girl. They know because they helped raise her. People can say whatever they like but the truth will remain, which is that my child is a girl. I am not concerned about such things."
Canadian cyclist Kristen Worley, who attempted to become the first trans Olympian ever in 2008, is a co-founder of the Coalition of Athletes for Inclusion in Sport. She said the 19-year-old runner’s gender should never have been in question and blasted Cummins.
“She’s ignorant,” Worley said. “You’ve got a bunch of athletes who are women who are upset because they’re not running fast enough. It’s bad sportsmanship, that’s what this is. … It’s totally sour grapes.”
Worley took aim at the gender based performance double standard vis a vis Usain Bolt and Caster Semenya.
“Basically when Usain shows up, it’s a question of who’s going to be second and third. That’s a given,” she said. “We make him king of the day. We make him world champion. We the media, we society say ‘Usain, go faster, show us what you can do.’
“But when a woman does it, who didn’t actually set a world record (in winning at the Berlin worlds last year), who (more than 10) women have run faster than her, who didn’t set a meet record, we throw her into stirrups and virtually rape her. We did that because of the way her face looks and her voice.”
I agree and have said it since this controversy broke out last year. It's sour grapes tinged with transphobic bigotry.
Just win, Caster. The London Games are only two years away.
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