The Cabinet fully supports world champion athlete Caster Semenya as she fights for her fundamental human rights.
“The Cabinet is disappointed that our star athlete, Caster Semenya, will not be allowed to defend her world 800m title at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
“This follows a ruling by a Swiss court that supported the International Association of Athletics Federation [IAAF] rule that would require her to take testosterone-reducing medication,” Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said on Thursday.
Last month, a judge at the Swiss Federal Tribunal revoked a temporary suspension of the IAAF’s controversial testosterone-curbing rules, which disqualifies two-time Olympic champion Semenya from competing in events between the 400m and mile, as she did in June and July.
“The Cabinet fully supports Ms Semenya as she appeals and fights for her fundamental human rights. Like all other athletes, she is entitled to compete without being obliged to alter her body by any medical means,” Mthembu said.
Asked in what tangible way the government is supporting her, Mthembu said this was done at the level of the department of sport, arts and culture, adding he would ask the relevant minister, Nathi Mthethwa, to address the media at a later stage about what steps would be taken.
“We can’t say as the government we support Caster Semenya, and only support her by word of mouth,” Mthembu said.