I was an athlete with potential to make it big.
I had dreams.
But the IAAF shattered my dreams.
I was told to go under the knife if I wanted to compete.
I felt I had no choice.
I was just twenty.
For seven years I have been suffering silently. I tried to train and compete but could never find enough strength physically. At the time of the medical investigation and later the surgery, I was told it was a “simple” thing. No one ever told me that this surgery would mean I would require to take medication all my life. For the last seven years, I felt more and more weak because of the after-effects of the surgery. The IAAF who pushed me to this, never asked for me again.
What was my fault? I was born the way I was. I am not one of the drug-cheats. I was a healthy young woman and a successful athlete.
I’ve won the AFRICAN GAMES in 2011 for Uganda.
I was named 2011 Athlete of the Year by Uganda Athletics Federation.
I was supposed to run as one of Uganda’s best athletes in the London Olympic Games in 2012.
Some weeks before the Olympics Games, my manager called me and said that they withdrew my name.
I was not going to London.
They told me, I had high levels of testosterone. I did not know at that time what the future help for me.
They asked me to stop moving around the streets because they wanted to tell everyone that I had an injury. I was actually totally fine and ready to compete in London.
Then the IAAF called me to Nice to conduct some medical tests. I went alone. During and after the tests, the doctors spoke to my manager.
I was never given an option.
Never told that taking medication could be an option.
I was just told that the procedure was ‘simple’.
The IAAF doctors charged a lot of money for the procedure which my manager said we didn’t have. So the IAAF doctors suggested clinics in Africa.
I was given no clear information about the surgery. When I came back to my senses the morning after the surgery, I realised I had cuts. That I had a surgery.
They did a surgery and told me to keep quiet. I did. As if I should be ashamed of it, of myself and the body I was born with.
But why should I be ashamed? What have I done? I have simply wanted to run.
Today I fear that the IAAF will continue to cause harm to young athletes like me. Try and regulate young women who are as helpless as I was in 2012. But this must stop.
What are the IAAF Hyperandrogenism Regulations ?
In 2011, the IAAF introduced its Hyperandrogenism Regulations which recommended that women with high level of naturally-occurring testosterone will need to take medical steps which could include hormone therapy or surgery.
The Hyperandrogenism Regulations were suspended due to lack of scientific evidence in 2015 after Indian athlete Dutee Chand challenged the IAAF at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Currently the IAAF has implemented the DSD Regulations affecting races between 400m and 1 mile after the CAS dismissed Caster Semenys’s appeal against the current Regulations. Ms. Semenya has now appealed against the CAS Decision at the Swiss Federal Tribunal.