She’s expected to win gold at Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the 800m for athletics, but some are saying Caster Semenya shouldn’t be allowed to compete.
The South African athlete identifies as a woman - and is universally recognised as such - but has increased testosterone levels, closer to that of a man.
‘It’s a hard situation … This goes beyond sport to the human being,’ John Steffensen, an Australian Olympian born in South Africa, told Fox Sports Australia.
Semenya, 25, has a medical condition known as hyperandrogenism, it's characterized by excessive levels of androgens in the body.
A leaked medical report in 2009 showed the athlete doesn’t have a womb or ovaries, but has internal testes, the Daily Mail reports.
In 2011, the International Association for Athletics Federations (IAAF) issued regulations that stipulated female athletes with excessive testosterone should take drugs to lower their levels to a female range or stop competing.
Complying, reports say Semenya’s times began to slow. However, in July last year, the IAAF’s regulations were suspended after researchers said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to link hyperandrogenism with improved performance.
The International Olympic Committee’s medical director said on Tuesday that the IAAF was looking into the issue, reports Yahoo Sports.
‘The IAAF are researching into this area to see if there are rules that will help women’s sport to remain fair, but hugely complicated and difficult subject, as you all know,’ said Dr Richard Budgett.
‘There is no gender testing at the Rio Games. There are no rules about hyperandrogenism at these Games and the CAS decision meant the IAAF rule was suspended and it would have been illogical for us to have any rules at the Games.
‘The eligibility of an athlete to compete in women’s events depends on the international federation and if you’re eligible under international federation rules then you can compete in that event.’
Semenya sent a message to her 'haters' on Twitter last week.