CAPE TOWN – Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa has vowed to help Caster Semenya fight the IAAF regulations that are set to force her to take medication to reduce testosterone levels if she hopes to continue running in her preferred races.
The IAAF announced on Thursday that they have changed their female classification regulations to create a “level playing field”, according to president Sebastian Coe, by enforcing new rules on female athletes who have higher than normal testosterone levels in the 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 1 500m and the mile.
Athletics South Africa said earlier that they will engage with the Department of Sport and Recreation to seek support from Xasa.
And the Minister responded later on Thursday by expressing her “dismay” with the IAAF’s decision, with the statement saying that the “Caster Semenya Regulations are nothing but a continued attack on the persona of Caster Semenya, the South African Golden girl”.
Xasa said that the ministry will engage with the relevant bodies and use all avenues to assist Semenya and any other athlete who may be affected “are allowed to participate unhindered by measures to reduce their competitive edge”.
“I call upon all South Africans to stand firm in opposing these Caster Semenya Regulations as they are designed to disadvantage Caster in her career,” Xasa said.
“South Africans and all progressive people of the world must unite and support Caster and all affected athletes in this regard.
“Caster is not just an athlete to people of South Africa, she represents their hopes and aspirations. She is a pathfinder to the rural poor and downtrodden.
“She is an affirmation of black excellence. She undermines a stereotype that nothing good will ever come from the rural villages.”