South African 800 meters Olympic champion Caster Semenya arrives for a landmark hearing at the Court of Arbitration (CAS) in Lausanne on February 18, 2019. – Semenya will challenge a proposed rule by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) aiming to restrict testosterone levels in female runners. (Photo by Harold CUNNINGHAM / AFP)
Agence France-Presse

South Africa’s double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya on Tuesday accused world athletics’ governing body the IAAF of using her as a “human guinea pig”.

“The IAAF used me in the past as a human guinea pig to experiment with how the medication they required me to take would affect my testosterone levels,” said Caster Semenya.

The South African is locked in a bitter dispute with the IAAF over the federation’s rule requiring women with higher than normal male hormone levels, a condition known as hyperandrogenism, to artificially lower their testosterone to compete in races at distances of 400m to the mile.

“Even though the hormonal drugs made me feel constantly sick, the IAAF now wants to enforce even stricter thresholds with unknown health consequences,” Semenya said in a statement.

“I will not allow the IAAF to use me and my body again. But I am concerned that other female athletes will feel compelled to let the IAAF drug them and test the effectiveness and negative health effects of different hormonal drugs. This cannot be allowed to happen.”

The athlete, who won the women’s 800 metres at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, unknowingly underwent a gender test shortly before she won gold at the 2009 Berlin world championships which allegedly showed she had both male and female characteristics.

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