Double Olympic champion Caster Semenya has lamented the lack of support she believes she has received from other women in sport.
The South African athlete, who has been locked in a battle over her testosterone levels with athletics authorities, said she has “never felt recognised mostly by women”.
Three-time world 800m champion Semenya will not defend her title at the World Championships in Doha in September after the Swiss Federal Tribunal reversed a ruling that temporarily lifted testosterone regulations imposed on her.
“Since I have been in sport I have never really felt very supported, I’ve never felt recognised mostly by women,” said Semenya.
Semenya is challenging the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) new rules athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) can race in distances from 400m to a mile only if they take medication to reach a reduced testosterone level.
Despite the IAAF receiving support from some current and former athletes, the decision to reduce testosterone levels in women’s athletics has also attracted criticism from human rights organisations. The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in support of Semenya in March.
The 28-year-old has twice appealed the IAAF rules preventing her from competing without taking medication – something she has resolutely refused to consider.
“I think it comes more into the international stage when you see your own rivals come with this… what can I call it… these rude responses in terms of me competing against them,” added Semenya, who was speaking as the headline speaker during a women’s conference in Johannesburg.
British runner Lynsey Sharp said in May that she had received death threats for past comments she made about the South African.
Semenya, who was greeted by cheers at the conference, said she still saw herself as a middle-distance runner.
“Whoever is going to stop me from running is going to have to drag me out of the track,” Semenya said.
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