Double Olympic women’s 800m champion, Caster Semenya has slammed the World Athletics (WA) in a scathing post on her social media page.
Semenya is not allowed to compete across a number of distances due to the World Athletics regulations for athletes with Differences of Sexual Development (DSD).
The 31 year-old is prohibited from competing in distances from 400m to mile, but can race across 100m, 200m and any event further than 1600m.
Through her social media handle, twitter, she claimed that there was a lack of logic in the regulations.
“So according to World Athletics and its members, I’m a male when it comes to 400m, 800m, 1500m and 1600m,” she wrote.
“Then a female in 100m, 200m, and long distance events. What a research. What kind of a fool would do that?”
The World Athletics regulations, implemented in 2018, prohibit athletes with DSD from competing between 400m and a mile unless they take hormone-reducing drugs.
After unsuccessful appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and Switzerland’s Federal Supreme Court, the South African super star is waiting for the hearing at the European Court of Human Rights.
So according to World Athletics and it’s members I’m a male when it comes to 400m,800m, 1500m and 1600m! Then a female in 100m,200m, and long distance events.😂🤣😂🤣 what a research. What kind of a fool would do that? Hai mathata man, bare sepela o di bone.👀
The Diamond League of track and field competitions has banned Russian Authorised Neutral Athletes (ANA) and Belarusian athletes from its events “for the foreseeable future”, organisers said, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier this month, World Athletics banned the two countries’ athletes, support staff and officials from all events for the foreseeable future, and said the sanction included Russian athletes who had the ANA status in 2022.
“The Wanda Diamond League meetings accepted the recommendation of the board that Authorised Neutral Athletes (ANA) and Belarus athletes be excluded from all Diamond League meetings for the foreseeable future,” organisers said.
“This recommendation… reflects the practical and logistical issues meetings may face if ANA athletes from Russia and athletes from Belarus were to be invited to compete.
The Russian Athletics Federation has been suspended from World Athletics since 2015 due to doping violations, and its competitors have not been allowed to compete under the country’s flag at international events.
The International Olympic Committee has recommended that events in Russia be cancelled or relocated and that Russian and Belarusian athletes not take part or compete under a neutral flag.
Many sports bodies have moved events and suspended Russian and Belarusian teams or athletes from competing while sponsors have ended contracts in protests against the war.
Russian and Belarusian athletes are also excluded from the World Athletics Indoor Championships, which begin on Friday in Belgrade.
World Athletics has banned Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) and Belarusian athletics federation athletes “for the foreseeable future” from World Athletics competition in the wake of the Ukraine invasion, with immediate effect.
This means that the two federations’ athletes will not be allowed to take part in this month’s World Athletics Indoor Championships in Serbia.
The announcement made yesterday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus should be banned from all international sporting events.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “The unprecedented sanctions that are being imposed on Russia and Belarus by countries and industries all over the world appear to be the only peaceful way to disrupt and disable Russia’s current intentions and restore peace.
“Anyone who knows me will understand that imposing sanctions on athletes because of the actions of their Government goes against the grain.
“Sport has to step up and join these efforts to end this war and restore peace.
“We cannot and should not sit this one out.”
The World Athletics Council has today agreed to impose sanctions against the Member Federations of Russia and Belarus as a consequence of the invasion of Ukraine.
“All athletes, support personnel and officials from Russia and Belarus will be excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future, with immediate effect.
This means that Russia and Belarus will automatically miss out at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22, and the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships that will start from March 22, in Oman.
The World Athletics announced through a press release on Friday that it was “appalled” by developments in Ukraine and condemned “the Russian military invasion,” adding that WA head had spoken with senior vice-president, Sergey Bubka and with the Ukrainian Athletics Federation president, Ravil Safiullin, offering “whatever practical support we can give.”
World Athletics Athletes’ Commission chairs Renaud Lavillenie and Dame Valerie Adams welcomed today’s decision.
“We stand in solidarity with our fellow athletes, competitors, and friends from Ukraine who are facing far greater challenges than just disruptions to their training and competition, but are in fear of their lives and the lives of their loved ones,” said Lavillenie.
Athletes will be free to protest on the podium and send respectful messages at this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is set to reveal that competitors who receive their medals will be able to “advocate” without fear of being stopped or sanctioned.
Sky Sports News can exclusively reveal that ‘Athlete Advocacy Guidelines’ have been drawn up in plans to demonstrate that the CGF will support any athlete who wants to positively highlight or draw attention to an issue that they feel is important, especially those around race, gender, sexual orientation and social injustice.
To make the podium a place where athletes can be free to address or highlight an issue contrasts with the experience many athletes have had at the recent Olympic Games in Beijing and Tokyo.
Despite relaxing its rules on protesting, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) states that the podium must not be used as place to raise awareness for a cause. Only a handful of athletes defied the decree in Tokyo, the most high profile being USA shot-putter Raven Saunders, who raised and crossed her arms after collecting her silver medal
Brendan Williams, chair of the CGF’s athletes’ commission, told Sky Sports News: “It’s going to be fresh, something new, something changing and in most instances eye-opening, where the Commonwealth Games Federation is taking a bold step to allow its athletes to be those ambassadors of change.
“The podium at any games is a sacred space; it is basically the recognition and the awarding of all your achievements. You’ve done all the sweat, the sacrifices you have made to accomplish winning an event.
“But we at the Commonwealth Games are allowing athletes to use this platform. Advocate positively for social causes which they feel are just to them. But these athletes must also respect their fellow competitors because they too have placed enough work, sweat and sacrifices just to reach that point.
“Thus, we are advocating that athletes speak with their fellow competitor, speak for a cause that you feel so rightly that you should advocate for at the Games on the podium, so that you are on a level playing field whilst respecting each other.
“It may be human rights. It may be victimisation due to race. It may be the lack of understanding of my religious belief or my sexual orientation. So it is bringing awareness in a positive and respectful way.”
Ever since the killing of George Floyd in the US in 2020, male and female athletes have tried to use their platform in the public eye to raise awareness of issues around racial inequality, such as footballers ‘taking a knee’ before kick-off.
However, debate has often been fierce about whether athletes should use the podium as a platform for protest.
The Olympic movement has grappled with this for some time. IOC Rule 50.2 allows athletes to protest peacefully, mainly away from the field of play. But the organisation has made it clear that the podium is sacred and no protest, however peaceful or well-meaning, should take place on it.
Many Olympic athletes expressed disappointment with this rule before the Tokyo Olympics last summer, while no athlete at the Winter Olympics in Beijing used the podium to peacefully protest.
Team GB skier Gus Kenworthy, an openly gay athlete and advocate of LGBTQ+ rights, told Sky Sports News from Beijing that he did not want to risk jeopardising his chances of competing by falling foul not only of IOC rules, but also local laws within China.
Arguably the most famous protest witnessed on a podium came at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City where US sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos each wore a black glove and raised a fist skywards in what Smith would later call a “human rights salute” after winning gold and silver respectively in the men’s 200m. Smith and Carlos both wished to highlight racial inequalities within the USA.
Although neither were stripped of their medals, they were both expelled from the Games. The IOC at the time said Smith and Carlos’ actions were a “deliberate and violent breach of the fundamental principles of the Olympic spirit”.
At Birmingham 2022, it is hoped the podium will become a space where athletes can peacefully and respectfully advocate for causes during the medal ceremony.
Williams said: “I don’t want to dwell too much on the IOC, but it [the move to allow protest] stems from frustration of all athletes who are performing at the top level of any major games where they’re restricted from being themselves, restricted from using their platform to advocate for social causes or social injustices.
“Because athletes feel that the only time they are beneficial to a Games is only at the Games as they have a four-year cycle where they are dormant. So it is the best platform to utilise the podium, the field of play to advocate for such causes. So the CGF or Commonwealth Sport is utilising this frustration to allow all athletes to be truly central because they are the key stakeholders of any Games.”
Positive protest not hate
Athletes are at the heart of the CGF’s decision. But with it comes a responsibility for them to police what is said and done respectfully. Like all guidelines, some could challenge them and cross a line into uncomfortable territory.
Williams explains: “With or without the policy, athletes will still take a stance which may be deemed subjective. So am I worried? No. The reason being is that we are becoming a sport where I trust in all athletes to be mature enough to make decisions which will not only affect them, their country, their families or the sporting organisation in general.”
The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham begin on July 28 and will conclude on August 8.
Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya who defected at last year’s Tokyo Games told Reuters on Friday she had fought hard for the United States to penalise those responsible for her early Olympic exit and that she hoped international sports bodies would join in punishing them.
“They deprived me of my right to take part in the Olympic Games and the I think that sanctions should be imposed against them,” Tsimanouskaya told Reuters.
“I would also like the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the international federation (World Athletics) to respond to this case and make decisions regarding the people who participated in the attempt to remove me from Tokyo.”
On Thursday the United States said it was imposing visa restrictions on several Belarusian nationals, citing Tsimanouskaya’s case and repression against athletes from the country.
A lineup of 38 medical experts and sports insiders have signed a statement criticizing the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) new framework on transgender athletes, issuing a warning over fairness as part of the debate.
After pledging to revise the guidelines amid fierce controversy over the issue at the Olympic Games in 2021, the governing body concluded that trans women would not be required to lower their testosterone to compete against rivals born as women – one of the cornerstones of the row for those who argue that transitioned athletes have an advantage over their opponents.
The reappraisal appeared to have been partly made in response to high-profile cases including Laurel Hubbard, the New Zealander who briefly competed at the Games in super-heavyweight weighlifting.
Testosterone level regulations have come in for further questioning because of the rise of Lia Thomas, a former male competitor who has broken records at college level as a female swimmer in the US in recent months.
Some campaigners for a change to the rules have suggested that groups and individuals are afraid to speak out publicly because they fear repercussions from others who passionately claim that more restrictive measures threaten the basic rights of transgender athletes.
Now the group of scientists and sports professionals, including members of World Athletics and World Triathlon, have written to the IOC to say that the framework is more focused on inclusion than science around gender and performance.
The authors, who are said to be associated with the International Federation of Sports Medicine and European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations, appealed to the IOC to revisit the guidance in the British Medical Journal Open Science & Exercise Medicine.
They say that the presumption of transgender athletes having no presumed advantage offers a “stark contrast” to the previous ruling by the IOC in 2015, scientific evidence and the findings of various groups and research.
Trans women could be allowed to compete in female sport, the scientists say, by lowering testosterone.
Thomas took testosterone suppressants for a year before being backed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the US to compete.
Cycling and rowing chiefs are among the leaders urging the IOC to set standards based on fairness and science.
‘the IOC’s new position that there should be “no presumption of performance advantage” for trans women “is in stark contrast with the outcome of the 2015 IOC consensus, the scientific evidence, and the subsequent assessment of numerous sports medicine associations/commissions”.’
While some scientists argue that the evidence around transgender athletes having advantages is inconclusive, others are convinced that trans individuals benefit in competition when they are born as men, with many going through puberty before transitioning.
Professor Jurgen Steinacker told Sportsmail that transwomens’ choices to compete should be respected but that fairness had to be “bi-directional”.
“In this case, I think what they are doing is unfair on females,” the chair of World Rowing’s Sports Medicine Commission said.
“Sport is inclusive but it is inclusive until it comes to winning medals. If you want to compete as a female in sport, you face biological disadvantages compared to cisgender males that must be mitigated against.
“We need to set a limit that respects the right of females to compete on equal terms. If you create a definition of gender that is based on social rather than biological differences, then you effectively destroy the female category.”
Professor Steinacker’s remarks echoed the views of a reported letter from parents of Thomas’s rivals which warned that the integrity of women’s sports is at risk over the issue.
Former international pentathlete Kirsti Miller, who competed for Australia and later revealed she was transgender while working at a jail in 2000, issued a lengthy social media response to one report of the petition.
Miller said that the last nine Olympic Games had featured two openly transgender athletes, neither of whom threatened to earn a medal.
“Sadly, [one report of the petition] still doesn’t get that there is no relationship between unaltered endogenous testosterone in males or females and sport performance,” she claimed.
“In fact, there is no clear biological list of features that allow us to even remotely cleanly separate men from women.”
Lawsuits in several US states have achieved varying levels of success in bids to bar transgender athletes from competing in female college sports.
The new IOC framework is set to be implemented after the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, which run from February 4-20 2022.
Champion long jumper. Coach of the Senegal national football team. Mayor of Dakar. Head of global athletics for 16 years. Olympic powerbroker. Fixer. Corruptor. Convicted super criminal.
Lamine Diack packed a lot into his extraordinary 88 years, which came to a quiet end on Friday. Yet we are perhaps still nowhere close to knowing all of his felonies – and the friends he helped along the way.
True, what we know is staggering enough. Last year Diack received a four-year sentence from the French courts for masterminding a scheme in which the IAAF, now World Athletics, agreed to cover up secretly 23 cases of Russian doping in exchange for £2.7m in bribes. And while another French investigation into Olympic vote-rigging continues, Diack has already been named by a senior figure in the Rio 2016 team as receiving £1.77m for securing African votes. Yet when I spoke to his son, Papa Massata Diack, last year, he hinted that this might be scratching the surface.
“The day Lamine Diack opens his mouth the IOC and Fifa will fall apart,” Papa Massata told me. “Because Lamine Diack knows a lot of secrets, on how the deals were cut to get a lot of the Olympic Games. He knows everything. He’s been the power broker. He was a force in the IOC for a long time.”
Some will say that Massata Diack is a discredited voice, given he was sentenced to five years in prison, fined €1m and banned from sport for 10 years for his part in the Russian doping scandal. It is also true that he remains the subject of an Interpol wanted notice. However, Massata Diack, who is protected by the authorities in Senegal, maintains he was not given a fair trial by the French courts, is innocent and will appeal.
What is also indisputable is that Massata Diack operated in the corridors of power long before he became an IAAF marketing consultant after his father took charge of global athletics in 1999. He pointed out that he started his company Pamodzi in 1987 and sold $620m of sponsorship contracts in his career. But, he added, cryptically: “Maybe the time of keeping quiet is finished.”
In recent weeks Massata Diack has used his Twitter account to drop a few hints about what he might know. And when I spoke to a seasoned Olympic consultant on Friday, who talked on condition of anonymity, he believed this could be just the start – and that Massata Diack did indeed know many of his father’s secrets. “With Lamine Diack’s passing, there will be a lot of very important people around the world holding their breath as to what Papa will do next,” he said.
“Because if this liberates Papa to say: ‘Well, now my father can’t be punished one way or the other, and I’m safe in Senegal, I might as well just let rip,’ there’s going to be a lot of people, from bids going right back to the 90s, who will be extremely anxious as to what Papa is going to do.”
That person also reckoned that Lamine Diack was the last of the great sports dictators, people who – like Sepp Blatter, Juan Antonio Samaranch, Joao Havelange and Primo Nebiolo – could pretty much do what they liked with their federations. “It was an opportunity to basically create a fiefdom that you controlled with total power,” he added.
Few opposed Liam Diack. Another source remembers him demanding lots of expensive Seiko watches to give to his friends at his last IAAF congress before the world championships in Beijing 2015. When Diack was told all the quota of watches in the Seiko sponsorship deal had been used up, he immediately demanded a load more be provided from future years. Who would dare say no?
But has the era of the sporting dictator really ended? Recent history suggests not. Last year a report into the International Weightlifting Federation found shocking levels of corruption, cronyism, cover-ups, bribes and an omerta that would impress the five families. At one point the report noted that the former head of the IWF, Tamas Ajan, even called up the head of the Albanian weightlifting federation and issued an ultimatum: pay a $100,000 fine for doping offences – in cash – or his team would not go to the Rio Olympics.
Meanwhile the governing body of amateur boxing, Aiba, is still trying to earn its place back in the Olympic movement after being stripped of its right to run the Tokyo 2020 boxing tournament after the IOC warned that its behaviour presented “serious legal, financial and reputational risks to the IOC and the Olympic Movement”.
It is easy to see why this happens. International sports federations are autonomous, which means there is no sheriff to watch over them, and they also face little scrutiny from the press, public or the IOC. Clearly executive term limits, greater transparency, independent ethics committees and clear anti-corruption guidelines should be a given for all sports bodies. They are not. As things stand, it is easier for those who should be scrutinising power to fall in line rather than rock the boat.
That was seen, of course, with the IAAF. And while Diack has passed on, the question remains over what secrets he took to his grave. Dead men tell no tales but living ones still might.
Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has launched investigation into two Belarus coaches who allegedly tried to force an athlete to fly home from the Tokyo Olympics.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya said she was taken to the airport in Tokyo against her will after criticizing her coaches.
The sprinter received police protection after voicing fears for her safety and was later granted asylum by Poland.
Tsimanouskaya was ordered to fly home after criticizing coaches for entering her in the 4x400m relay without her knowledge and was taken to the airport in Tokyo before she could run in her chosen 200m event.
The head coach Yuri Moisevich and team official Artur Shumak were then kicked out of the Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), days after they ordered Tsimanouskaya to pack her bags and go to the airport.
“The IOC and World Athletics have jointly agreed to continue the investigation and to open a formal procedure [regarding] the two coaches,” it said in a statement.
“To this effect, and given that the Olympic Games have now concluded, it has been decided that the AIU – the independent body created by World Athletics to manage all integrity issues (both doping-related and non-doping-related) for the sport of athletics – will conduct the procedure, with the full collaboration and support of the IOC.
“The AIU will publish the outcome of its investigation when this has been finalised.”
The Athletics Integrity Unit has issued a joint statement with @olympics and @WorldAthletics regarding 🇧🇾 athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya and the investigation involving the two coaches.
Jamaica’s London Olympics relay gold medallist Nesta Carter has called time on his athletics career.
In a press release yesterday, through MVP Track and Field Club, the 35-year-old sprinter said he could not compete up to his standard in the sport. He said he has been hampered by an injury that has prevented him from competing since March.
“Now at the age of 35, I am no longer able to give of my best as an athlete to the sport that I know and love. As a result and for other reasons, I am announcing my retirement from Track and Field as an athlete,” Carter said.
Carter ends his career with a personal best in the 100m of 9.78 seconds, the eighth fastest time in history. He won Olympic gold as a member of the Jamaica 4x100m relay team that set the world record at the 2012 London Olympic Games (36.84 seconds). He won three World Championships gold medals as part of the Jamaica 4x100m relay team in 2011, 2013, and 2015, silver in 2007 and an individual bronze in 100m final in 2013.
In 2016 Carter returned a positive doping test results for Methylhexanamine from 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
He failed the drug test after International Olympic Committee (IOC) retested 454 samples from 2008 Olympic Games.
The report said that the IOC requested to test Carter’s B sample after his A test showed a presence of banned substance Methylhexanamine from 2008 Olympics.
Former International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has died at the age of 79.
The IOC announced his death on Sunday, with current incumbent Thomas Bach saying: “His joy in sport was infectious.”
During Rogge’s 12-year tenure from 2001 to 2013, he awarded the 2012 Games to London, having also competed at three Olympics for Belgium as a sailor in 1968, 1972 and 1976.
Rogge was the eighth President of the IOC, from 2001 to 2013, after which he became Honorary President.
He was married to Anne, and leaves a son, a daughter and two grandchildren.
Rogge was an orthopaedic surgeon with a degree in sports medicine.
His sailing career saw him win 16 national titles, while he also played rugby for Belgium. He became the IOC’s honorary president after leaving the post in 2013.
After his career as an athlete he became President of the Belgian and European Olympic Committees, and was elected President of the IOC in 2001. After his IOC Presidency, he also served as a Special Envoy for Youth, Refugees and Sport to the United Nations.
World Athletics president Seb Coe said, “I am beyond sad to hear the news of Jacques passing. I wrote to Jacques and Anne 2 weeks ago to tell them that all of us World Athletics missed them at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. I said it wasn’t the same being in the Olympic stadium watching athletics without them.
I have a mountainous gratitude for his part in the seamless delivery of London 2012. No Org Cttee could have asked or received more. He was passionate about sport & all he achieved in sport & beyond was done with common decency, compassion and a level head. We will all miss him.”
As a mark of respect, the Olympic flag will be flown at half-mast for five days at Olympic House, at The Olympic Museum and at all IOC properties, and the IOC invites all National Olympic Committees and International Federations to join in this gesture of remembrance and honour.