South African 800m runner, Caster Semenya won the Olympic 2016 gold and the other women in the field have cried out that it was difficult competing against her.
Briton Lynsey Sharp who was placed sixth in that race argued that the decision to overturn rules on testosterone suppression made competing against the women’s Olympic 800m champion, Semenya, and other hyperandrogenic athletes difficult.
Semenya set a new national record with her 1.55. 28 seconds run. Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi won silver with 1.56.49 and Kenya’s Margaret Wambuiken was third with 1.56.89 her personal best. Semenya made a return to form after the court of arbitration for sport overturned a rule created by the International Association of Athletics Federations which had forced athletes with naturally high levels of testosterone to take hormone-suppressing drugs.
Sharp told the BBC after the race: “I have tried to avoid the issue all year. You can see how emotional it all was. We know how each other feels.
It is out of our control and how much we rely on people at the top sorting it out. The public can see how difficult it is with the change of rule but all we can do is give it our best.
“I was coming down the home straight, we were not far away and you can see how close it is. That is encouraging. We will work hard and aim to come back even stronger.”
Semenya’s is certain to further inflame the scientific and ethical storm about whether she, as an intersex athlete, should be allowed to compete with women. Semenya, whose body has been subjected to brutal and unprecedented scrutiny for years, was a full two seconds short of breaking Jarmila Kratochvilova’s 33-year-old world record, but still posted the fastest two-lap time this year of one minute 55.28 seconds.