Caster Semenya, a 25-year-old South African athlete, is a top favourite for winning the final of the women’s 800m race in the Rio Olympics this year. But there are some people who argue that she is not eligible for the competition at all. The reason for this is because they believe that she has undue advantage due to a medical condition that causes her to have thrice the amount of testosterone as the average woman, reports the Daily Mail.
Caster’s medical condition is known as hyperandrogenism which causes her body to produce and retain an excessive amount of male hormones. This means that she has three times the amount of testosterone as the average woman. Not only does she not have a womb or ovaries but she also has internal testes as a result of a chromosomal ability.
Caster achieved success at the World Championships in 2009 but in 2011, the International Association for Athletics Federations (IAAF) came up with a rule that female athletes with excessive testosterone should take medication to lower their levels to a female range or stop competing altogether. This resulted in negatively affecting Caster’s performance at the 2012 Olympics.
High profile complaints compelled the IAAF to suspend the rule in July last year as there was no sufficient evidence to connect hyperandrogenism to improved performance. So, Caster no longer needs to chemically alter her testosterone levels in order to compete. However, the debate over whether it is fair if she participates as a woman in sports still rages on.