Monday August 15, 2016

Caster Semenya endured gender 'witch hunt' says former critic

Caster Semenya of South Africa has had a tumultuous career since she won the world 800-metre title as an 18-year-old in 2009 in just 1:55.45. She was then suspended for nearly a year by the IAAF following gender tests, suffered with injuries in 2013 and failed to make the 800m final in last year's world championships.

Caster Semenya of South Africa has had a tumultuous career since she won the world 800-metre title as an 18-year-old in 2009 in just 1:55.45. She was then suspended for nearly a year by the IAAF following gender tests, suffered with injuries in 2013 and failed to make the 800m final in last year's world championships. (Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Listen 18:30

South African runner Caster Semenya made headlines a few years back when she was publicly suspected of being male and suspended from competition. 

Among Semenya's critics was fellow competitor Madeleine Pape, who represented Australia at the Bejing Olympics in 2008. But now Pape, who left the sports world following a serious injury, has has a change of heart.

She now sees the scrutiny surrounding Semenya was nothing short of a modern day witch hunt. 

As Semenya prepares to race for Olympic gold in the women's 800 m, guest host Gill Deacon checks in with Pape to discuss how PhD studies in Sociology helped shift her paradigm, and the case for loosening the rigid divide between the genders. 

"I would really like to see her win," says Pape of her former competitor. 

WEB EXTRA | Semenya recently set another world-leading time in Morocco, easily claiming a victory in the 800 metres at the Diamond League. Watch her claim that victory below. Will she repeat this success in Rio? 

Caster Semenya takes gold in women's 800m at 2016 Diamond League in Rome3:27