Caster Semenya’s closest rival Francine Niyonsaba reveals she has hyperandrogenism


“I didn’t choose to be born like this. What am I? I’m created by God,” Niyonsaba said.

“So, someone has more questions about it, maybe [they] can ask God. I love myself. I will still be Francine. I will not change.

“For me, it’s about discrimination,” she said of the rule.

“It doesn’t make sense.”

The IAAF wants Semenya, Niyonsaba and other female athletes with high levels of natural testosterone to lower them – either through medication or surgery – to compete in events from 400 metres to 1600m at top meets.

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It argues female runners with abnormally high testosterone levels have an unfair advantage.

Semenya, the two-time Olympic champion from South Africa, is challenging that at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the decision, now expected at the end of the month, could have serious ramifications.

She, Niyonsaba and possibly other medal-winning athletes could be forced to take hormone-suppressing medication for the remainder of their careers or give up their favoured events.

The IAAF has records showing numerous athletes have the condition but has never identified them.

Semenya and Niyonsaba finishing 1-2 in the 800 at the last two major meets appears to strengthen the IAAF’s stance that hyperandrogenism gives runners a significant and unfair advantage.

Niyonsaba rejected that.

“To get on the podium is not easy,” she said.

“It’s hard work. It’s a lot of sacrifice … Running to get good results is just about training. Nothing else.”

AP

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