South African runner Caster Semenya won the gold medal for the 800 metres at the World Athletics competition in Berlin in August 2009, but her achievements were overshadowed by suspicion about her gender.
Intense speculation from the media resulted in an official investigation by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
SBSONE is airing a documentary about the controversy at 8.30pm tomorrow, called Caster Semenya: Too Fast To Be A Woman?
The IAAF eventually cleared Semenya to return to racing in July 2010, but the report would remain confidential and no official details were released.
Although she was allowed to compete as a woman, speculation over the results of the report was rampant, with many believing she was intersex or had high levels of testosterone.
The strain on Semenya was telling. “I have been subjected to unwarranted and invasive scrutiny of the most intimate and private details of my being,” her legal advisers reported her saying at the time.
It has taken three turbulent years to get there, but Semenya is ready to compete at the London Olympics this year and hopefully take home the gold.
“It’s believed her case was one of the reasons why the IAAF introduced new regulations last year to deal with female athletes who produce higher than usual levels of testosterone – and so are able to build more muscle and have better endurance,” Mail Online reports.
But Maria Mutola, former Olympic athlete and Semenya’s current coach, just wants her to focus on the task at hand.
“Caster just needs to take the last steps to be a professional athlete. I want to use all my experience to help her to understand what it means to be on the top,” she said.
Airing tomorrow night, the TV documentary takes a close look at the story behind the headlines to this otherwise media-shy athlete.
“The way you were born is the way you were born, nothing can change it,” Semenya says.
See ‘Caster Semenya: Too Fast To Be A Woman?’ on SBS ONE, Tuesday 3 July at 8:30pm. Its trailer is shown below.