South Africa: Commission for Gender Equality Sends Best Wishes to Caster Semenya Ahead of Her Race in Germany

press release

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) wishes to send best wishes to Caster Semenya ahead of her race in Germany to seek qualification for the Tokyo Olympics

The CGE sends the message of support and best wishes to Mokgadi Caster Semenya as she prepares to participate in the 5 000m race in Regensburg, Germany tonight at around 20:00. This is a crucial race for Ms. Semenya's bid to qualify for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics that will start on 23 July 2021 in Japan.

"Ms. Semenya needs to attain the qualifying mark of 15 minutes and 10 seconds in tonight's 5 000m race to secure qualification to participate in the same race in the upcoming winter Olympics," said CGE chairperson Ms. Tamara Mathebula. Ms. Semenya was denied an opportunity to compete in the 800m race when governing body World Athletics enacted regulations prohibiting women with differences of sexual development from competing in the events ranging from 400m to a mile, unless they took hormone suppressors.

"We have stood by Ms. Semenya in her refusal to take the testosterone-suppressing drugs as we believe it is a violation of human rights and invasion of the privacy of female athletes. We also supported her move to take her appeal all the way to the European Courts of Human Rights, which we hope will reverse the discriminatory ban against her" Mathebula added.

The CGE believes Semenya's qualification tonight would be a significant development and victory for a South African woman who has been at the receiving end of unwarranted and unfortunate discrimination that has prevented her from participating in the sport she is gifted in. "As she takes to the tracks tonight, we would like to ask South Africans to rally behind her as the event would afford her a potential breakthrough after the many years she has spent overcoming odds in her career. We believe Caster will qualify and be part of a South African Olympic team that will proudly represent the country at the winter games" Mathebula concluded. Semenya is a double 800m Olympic gold medalist. She will run at the Sparkassen Gala in Regensburg, 105 km north of Munich in Germany.

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