“It was great to have raced here, and the simple fact of completing these 5000 was a real blessing for me. I am gaining experience and am willing to do more.” At the World Athletics Championships you can also be happy with a 13 / o place out of 16 starters in a battery, and even if in the past you were one who collected gold medals. But for Carsten Semenya the important thing was to show the world that those who wanted to impose certain rules on her could not stop her completely. Forced to compete in the 5000 meters, and no longer the middle distance trials, due to the regulations of the international federation that prohibit her and other athletes with excess testosterone from competing in women’s trials between 400 and one mile, the South African protagonist of many legal battles (lost, including Tas) for the recognition of her rights as an intersex athlete, she returned to the competition five years after her last appearance in a major competition, the London World Championships in which she won gold in the 800, as the year before at the Rio Games.
She is back in a race that is not hers, the 5000 meters, one of the few tests that the rules allow her to run, but even if hers was not an eye-rubbing performance, at least it was a signal. Even of life, for this athlete with little feminine features who for years has been fighting against the world federation and has always refused to undergo the hormonal therapies they wanted to impose on her, as did the Niger sprinter Aminatou Seyni. “But, if you want, I can show you the vagina,” Semenya came to say, and then bowed to the regulations in order to continue competing. Not before I made an outing, formalizing the fact that I had a partner and after the verdict of the Tas, underlining that “for a decade they tried to slow me down, but this made me stronger. I’ll be back on track and continue to inspire young women and athletes “.
Said and done, thanks also to a couple of forfeits from other athletes that allowed her to be included in the South African national team for Eugene, so her race last night, although disappointing from the point of view of the result, served precisely to give a example, against the words of the president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, according to which “the science is clear: testosterone is a key determinant of performance, and I’m sick of having discussions with second-rate sociologists trying to tell me or to the scientific community that there may be problems. There are none, and if there was no gender separation, no woman would ever win a sporting event. ”
So now Semenya no longer gives half a lap of the track to the adversaries, and running in 15: 46.12 she did 45 seconds worse than the last admitted to the final, obtaining the 28th place out of 35 athletes in the race. The heat also affects it, which as in many others in the world these days does not give discounts, with 32 degrees on the track at the time of the start. “I feel like they roasted me – his words in the mixed zone -, it was really too hot, and I couldn’t keep up with the pace. Anyway it’s part of the game and I tried as long as I could. In any case, it was nice”.
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