IAAF determined to end Caster's reign – NUMSA

Union condemns this racist savage attack on athlete's sports career

NUMSA condemns the racist savage attack on Caster Semenya

30 April 2018

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) which represents 340 thousand Metalworkers and their families stands in solidarity with Mokgadi Caster Semenya who is under attack from the International Association of Athletes Federation (IAAF). From November this year, the IAAF will be forcing female athletes with high levels of naturally occurring testosterone, to take medication to reduce it, or have surgery to reduce their levels, if they want to compete. The ruling only covers female mid to long distance runners and is intended to target Caster Semenya.

From the time that Caster emerged in the athletics field she has dominated in her field. She is a two time gold medallist Olympic winner in the 800 m race in 2012 and again in 2016; she has won two gold medals at the 2009 and 2017 World Championships for the 800 meters; and a few days ago she smashed the world record in the Commonwealth Games and won gold after completing the 1500 m race in only four minutes. She is phenomenal.

It is precisely because of her brilliance that reactionary forces in the IAAF are determined to end her reign in the sports arena. The IAAF is saying that Caster’s brilliance is based on the fact that she has increased levels of testosterone. There is no scientific proof that naturally occuring testosterone enhances physical strength, let alone talent at any sport! Caster derives no sporting advantage from her testosterone levels. As NUMSA we reject these ridiculous claims with the scientific contempt they deserve. Will we now start cutting down the legs of tall basketball players because they have an unnatural advantage, because of their height?

Caster is simply an exceptional athlete, who leaves her competition literally eating her dust, and she does so consistently, without the need for performance enhancing drugs. In response, the IAAF wants to force her to infuse unnatural substances into her body to diminish her natural speed and her ability. The world must reject this savage intrusion into Caster’s body and sporting life.

Caster is not the only victim of this brutal attack. Indian sprinter Dutee Chand who competes in the 100m and 200m experienced similar humiliation at the hands of the vicious IAAF. Chand took the IAAF to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after she was prevented from participating in the Commonwealth Games because her testosterone levels were higher than what the sporting body allowed. She took the matter to the (CAS) in 2015 which found the IAAF had failed to prove natural testosterone provides a significant athletic advantage. The CAS gave an interim ruling suspending the IAAF’s testosterone limit.

Having failed to implement this bigoted ruling on sprinters, the IAAF is now attempting to impose it on middle distance runners like Caster. We say they are bigots because the explanations they have given for justifying this course of action are bizarre. The IAAF is clearly racist and has manipulated the research in order to suit the conditions it wants in order to justify rampant discrimination against talented darker skinned athletes. We are very familiar with these tactics which have frequently been used by our oppressors, especially in the dark days of Apartheid.

They hide behind research and psuedo science to justify their bigoted and racist prejudices. Their explanations for imposing these conditions on female athletes are dubious at best. The purpose of these restrictions are to frustrate Caster and humiliate her in public. By raising this debate on whether she does or does not have high levels of testosterone, they want to separate her from other athletes, and portray her as abnormal. The goal is to destroy her psychologically so that she is unable to compete and destroy her career. As NUMSA we reject this attack on Caster with the contempt it deserves.


NUMSA calls on South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee SASCOC to appeal this decision. They have a duty to defend her from this vicious attack.

Furthermore we call on all our members and the working class in general to support Caster in her time of need. We cannot be silent in the face of this uncivilised attack on her. We must defend her. To Caster we say to you, we salute you for your talent, strength, speed and your unswerving commitment to sporting excellence in the athletics field. Ignore the critics. We know who you are. To us, you remain a hero of the working class.

Aluta continua! The struggle continues!

Issued by Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, NUMSA Acting National Spokesperson, 30 April 2018