Celebrity

Semenya,”When I pee, I pee like a woman. I don’t understand when you say I am a man”

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Athletics superstar Caster Semenya has opened up about the gender verification process that rocked her illustrious career.

In her most revealing interview yet, South African athletics superstar Caster Semenya lifted the lid on a range of issues that have swirled around her. Talking to Ali Bacher in his “In Conversation” series, which premiered on SuperSport 2 last Friday, the Olympic 800m champion spoke at length about:

• Damaging issues surrounding her gender;

• Being lied to by athletics authorities;

• Enduring a suspension;

• Falling in love and marrying.

“It was the most extraordinary interview I’ve ever had,” said Dr Bacher, who admits that he was surprised by her frankness given the scrutiny she’s been under for so many years.

Semenya spoke openly about the scandal that has dogged her through the years and her refusal to be cowed by authorities, who twice hoodwinked her into taking blood tests under the pretext of them being doping tests. Instead, they were for gender verification purposes.

“How the hell can you change genders in the rural areas?” she rages at one point. “I’m a woman . . .when I pee, I pee like you [women].”

At another juncture she felt abandoned by athletics bosses, but was determined to go it alone in her quest for gold on the track.

“What struck me is how mentally strong she is,” said Bacher. “She has a determination that runs through everything she does. As she says, when she’s fit and prepared, no-one can beat her.”

Away from the scandal, Semenya speculates about a move to the 1500m, a possible crack at the 800m world record and talks about her coach, the former world and Olympic champion Maria Mutola.

She is a heavy favourite to reclaim her 800m title at the world athletic championship in London next month.

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