Michael Johnson says Caster Semenya situation is all about fairness

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on May 1, 2019 - Duration: 00:53s

Michael Johnson says Caster Semenya situation is all about fairness

SHOWS: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES.

(MAY 1, 2019)(REUTERS-ACCESS ALL) 1.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) MICHAEL JOHNSON SAYING "It was always going to be a difficult situation because of no fault of

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Michael Johnson says Caster Semenya situation is all about fairness

SHOWS: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES.

(MAY 1, 2019)(REUTERS-ACCESS ALL) 1.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) MICHAEL JOHNSON SAYING "It was always going to be a difficult situation because of no fault of her own she just happens to have this condition but at the end of the day the IAAF has to make a decision on the line that's drawn between the female races and the men's races into categories and while it's no fault of Caster Semenya's unfortunately for her she will have to make a decision to either start taking the medication to reduce her testosterone levels or not be allowed to compete and it's a difficult situation to be in but I think the decision was based on the fairness of sports so that there is a level playing field for all of the athletes in any given race." STORY: Olympic champion Michael Johnson told Reuters on Wednesday (May 1) that while the Caster Semanya ruling was a difficult one, ultimately the governing body came down on the side of fairness.

Johnson was sympathetic toward the South African middle distance runner saying the situation was no fault of her own.

Johnson was asked about the ruling while doing a media tour on behalf of the American Stroke Association.

Semenya has 30 days to challenge the decision to dismiss her appeal against restrictions being placed on female athletes with elevated levels of testosterone.

On Wednesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the double Olympic 800-metres champion's bid to throw out rules introduced by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to force those with differences of sexual development (DSDs) to take testosterone blockers if they want to run in world-class races from 400 metres to a mile.

The 28-year-old South African can appeal the CAS ruling at the Swiss Federal Tribunal within 30 days, and she might well take that option.

Some observers suggest she might then contemplate taking the case to the European Court of Justice.

But in the meantime, the IAAF says that if she wants to defend her 800m title at the world championships in Doha in September, Semenya needs to start taking medication immediately to show significant change within seven days and then maintain it below a set level continuously.

Johnson, widely regarded as one of the greatest sprinters of all time, is recovering from a stroke suffered less than a year ago and is spreading awareness of the early warning signs and prevention of stroke.

(Production:Peter Bullock)

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