South Africans are uniting to rally behind their star runner, Caster Semenya, amid continuing controversy over her high testosterone levels.
Since last week, South Africans have taken to social media to defend Semenya with the hashtag #HandsOffCaster.
This is after some international media questioned whether she should be allowed to run alongside other female athletes.
“We are all feeling Caster’s pain, we are all feeling that. We are all sick and tired of this continous attack on her, for whatever reason. We are questioning the double-standards, we are questioning because we’ve got this experience, you know there’s a thing about Bob Marley who says, ‘he who feels it knows it Lord’. We know racism, we know decrimination, we know being put out there as outcasts,” said Bareng-Batho Kortjass, a sports editor at Sunday times, a local daily.
Semenya, who sailed into the 800-metre finals to remain on track for an Olympic gold medal in Rio has expressed her gratitude for the support amid the controversy.
Thank you South Africa… I feel proud to be a South African ..Thanks for the Love and Support.. 💞 I'll make you proud. 🏃🏃🏃— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) August 17, 2016
“It’s unfair cause like she’s always on top of her class and she does what has to be done. So like what they are doing is unfair,” said Alexis Mabote from South Africa.
Reitumetsi Pitso another South African added, “It has been tested before that she is a woman, I don’t understand why that has to be put on the spotlight again.”
The 2009 800-metre world champion who has been identified as intersex is the overwhelming favourite for gold in Saturday’s 800m finals.