Sun Sep 24 07:12:48 SAST 2017

Celebrities come out in support of Caster Semenya following criticism by rival

By Tmg Entertainment | 2016-07-26 07:09:20.0

Local celebrities‚ including Lerato Kganyago and Simphiwe Dana‚ have lashed out at UK marathon record-holder Paula Radcliffe‚ after the athlete criticised Caster Semenya in an interview over the weekend.

Speaking to BBC radio over the weekend‚ Paula was commenting on Caster’s chances in the 800-meter event‚ when she suggested that the sport will be devalued if Caster wins gold during the race at the Rio Olympics.

Also read: Caster Semenya wins 3 golds for SA at the African championships

“When we talk about it in terms of fully expecting no other result than Caster Semenya to win that 800m‚ then it’s no longer sport and it’s no longer an open race. There is an issue that needs to be understood a lot better‚” she said.

Paula went on to comment on Caster’s level of testosterone and her subsequent clearance by the IAAF‚ which she says‚ could spark a recruitment drive from other countries where women have higher levels of testosterone. She added that while the rights of Caster is important‚ it needs to be balanced with those of other athletes.

Paula’s comments have spread across the running community and has caused outrage among local South Africans‚ including celebrities such as Lerato Kganyago and Simphiwe Dana.

Lerato responded to Paula’s comments by claiming that “black women in sport are always put through the most“‚ before telling Caster’s critics to back off!

“Dear Black Child! They see your greatness! They fear your greatness! Hands off Mokgadi! Hands off Greatness! Hands off Caster! Mopedi wa gesho! Catch her if you can!!! We behind you!!! Our Champion! Phantsi Ngo PaulaRadCliffe Phantsi!‚” she wrote in an open letter to Caster on her Instagram page.


Simphiwe Dana also added her voice to the debate‚ saying that it is the responsibility of all South Africans to stand behind Caster.


Radio and TV personality Azania Mosaka showed her support by simply reposted a double spread advert run by the Sunday Times over the weekend‚ and added: “Thatha Caster“‚ alongside two emojis showing strength.

Meanwhile an online petition has been started‚ urging Paula’s sponsors and the British Athletics Federation to demand that the athlete publicly apologise for her comments.

The petition‚ entitled STOP THE BULLYING OF CASTER SEMENYA‚ went on to state that “what Radcliffe has put Semenya through is what Serena Williams has had to face as a black woman in sport.”