In her most forceful and revealing comments yet, South African athlete Caster Semenya has accused the world athletics governing body of drugging her “in a human guinea pig experiment.”
The athlete stepped up her attacks against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Tuesday after the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) released a 163-page judgment explaining why it had decided to rule against her in a landmark case last month.
Semenya has since appealed against the CAS decision, which requires athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD) like her to take hormone suppressants to lower their testosterone if they want to compete internationally between distances of 400m to a mile (about 1,600m).
The world and Olympic 800m champion made it quite clear that whatever happens in her court appeal, she would never take the IAAF medication again – something she was forced to do between 2010 and 2015, with disastrous consequences, she said.
“The IAAF used me in the past as a human guinea pig to experiment with how the medication they required me to take would affect my testosterone levels,” she said.
She added: “Even though the hormonal drugs made me feel constantly sick, the IAAF now wants to enforce even stricter thresholds with unknown health consequences. I will not allow the IAAF to use me and my body again.”
Semenya said she was concerned that “other female athletes will feel compelled to let the IAAF drug them and test the effectiveness and negative health effects of different hormonal drugs.”
“This should not be allowed to happen,” the South African said.
Among the revelations in CAS’ full report is that the IAAF did argue that Semenya – and other athletes with similar DSD conditions – should be regarded as “biological males”.