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Somizi, Unathi and Zozibini rally behind Caster Semenya following Olympics ban

South African 800-metre Olympic champion Caster Semenya. Picture: Phill Magakoe / AFP

South African 800-metre Olympic champion Caster Semenya. Picture: Phill Magakoe / AFP

Published May 11, 2021


Media personalities Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung, Unathi Nkayi and the reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi have publicly pledged their support for South African gold medallist Caster Semenya.

This comes after the International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) ruling which bans her from competing in any track event between 400m and 1 500m unless she takes medication to reduce her naturally high testosterone levels.

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In 2019, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court banned Caster from competing while her lawsuit against the IAAF over-regulation of her testosterone levels continued.

The middle-distance runner is likely to miss the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year due to the IAAF's rules regarding female athletes who compete in events between 400m and 1 500m.

This week Zozibini, who is in Miami, Florida preparing to hand over her Miss Universe crown, said that Caster’s banning broke her heart.

“The policing over women’s bodies, the boxing us and stripping away of our autonomy has become a norm.

“It seems like everyone wants to tell us who we are or who we should be. Women are not just one thing.

“We are multifaceted! We come in all shapes, shades and sizes.

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"It breaks my heart that Caster Semenya has been banned from competing in the 800m race at the 2021 Olympics because someone else has decided her womanhood for her.

“I want to play my part rallying behind not only Caster, but other women who are to come after her,” Zozibini wrote on Instagram.

“Imagine waking up one day and you’re told there’s something wrong with you or the way you were naturally born, just because your greatness is too much for other humans to comprehend,” wrote Somizi.

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Somizi also posted a video in which he said: “Let’s root for Caster, let’s support her, let’s be there for her, she deserves fair treatment.

“Every woman has the right to express her beauty unapologetically so, every woman is entitled to her greatness unapologetically so and this is why I say I stand with Caster as she continues to fight discrimination when it comes to the World Athletics Board,” said Unathi in a video she posted.