"Love Semenya as we love Nelson Mandela"
The South African Athletic Association appeals against the verdict against Caster Semenya, according to which she must not compete without taking testosterone-reducing medication. SVT Sport visited the middle-distance runner's homeland where support for the national idol is great.
The track at the sports school in Pretoria in South Africa is empty. Only the 17-year-old mid-range promise Keletso Senosi is training. For her, there has always been only one role model.
- I think I was eleven. I saw her and said "mom, I want to run like she", Keletso Senosi tells SVT.
Caster Semenya himself usually trains just a stone's throw away, and is a great support for the young runner.
- She is so kind, she talks to everyone, says Senosi.The judgment has aroused strong emotions
The same goes for public service company SABC Deputy Sports Manager Janet Whitton. Everyone loves Semenya, and sports journalists have a hard time being neutral in reporting.
- Semenya is very sure of who she is, which surprises many. Who she is is at the center of all this controversy.
A couple of weeks ago, the sports arbitration court Cas ruled that hyperandrogynous Semenya must take testosterone-lowering medication to compete in the medium distance, from 400 meters up to an English mile (1,609 meters).
The judgment has aroused strong emotions as it only concerns the middle distance running, no other branches.
Onke Mane on the street in Johannesburg says that Semenya is an inspiration for the entire South African people."There are elements of racism"
- We love her as we love Nelson Mandela. So it feels humiliating that her gender is being questioned, he says.
In South Africa, most people perceive the verdict as directed directly at Semenya.
- Many people here see that there are elements of racism and colonialism in the decision, because those who loudly criticized Caster come from Europe, says Janet Whitton.
The runner-up Keletso Senosi says no one should be treated like Semenya.
- She is a nice person and I will always look up to her, says Senosi.
The entire report on Caster Semenya from South Africa