Caster’s glass ceiling



August 19, 2016
Caster’s glass ceiling

QUEST FOR GOLD: Caster Semenya

Let's get behind our super girl.

Wayde van Niekerk caused a storm this week when he won Olympic gold and shattered legendary Michael Johnson’s 400m sprint record.

Now it’s Caster Semenya’s turn to set the world alight, but for different reasons.

Wayde made everyone talk about coloureds and their place in South Africa as a sideshow to his amazing athletic feat and highlighted his mother’s unfulfilled talent in the dark days of Apartheid.

But Caster has everyone talking about sex.

Sex in the biological sense. The women’s 800m favourite is dividing opinion due to her biological sex.

Caster had to undergo sex verification in 2009 and the IAAF still can’t come up with a way of stopping her from running.

She is a woman with a condition called hyperandrogeny meaning she has higher levels of the hormone Testosterone (a characteristic of males) in her body than most females.

And people cannot figure out whether it is fair for her to race against other women, due to the advantage the strength-building hormone which occurs naturally in her body.

While many women look stronger than their competitors Martina Navratilova and the Williams sisters come to mind – what goes on in their bodies is their own business.

Caster, though, was robbed of silver in London by a Russian doper. And with the fastest time in her event since 2008, the girl from Limpopo has a chance to break the oldest record in track sports.

And that record is one that is the most controversial of all.

BEST SO FAR: Jarmila Kratochvílová

Held by Jarmila Kratochvílová, the East German could have been mistaken for a middle-weight boxer and there were questions surrounding her sex AND doping when she set the time of 1:53.28 in 1983.

For women athletes, this notch has been too far to reach without artificial help.

This weekend Caster can do it with what she was born with.

And I want her to do it.

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