Controversial star athlete Caster Semenya talks about life amidst gender row

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Pretoria, Nov. 14 (ANI): South African star athlete Caster Semenya has revealed how her life has changed since winning the women's 800 metre world championship in Berlin, and the controversial gender row that followed afterwards.

The 18-year-old world champion, who was subjected to controversial sex tests in Germany and South Africa, is struggling to come to terms with her new-found fame.

"It's not so easy. The university is OK but there is not many other places I can go. People want to stare at me now. They want to touch me. I'm supposed to be famous but I don't think I like it so much," The Guardian quoted Semenya, as saying.

Following her victory in the Berlin championship, questions over her sex and the naturally occurring high levels of testosterone in her body led to intrusive speculation in the world's press and caused a political storm in South Africa.

Semenya has found solace among her fellow athletes and her coach, Michael Seme.

"I am myself here. Everyone just accepts me. They know who I am. I am just Caster to these guys. I feel good with them. I feel much better here - with [Seme] and the athletes," she says.

Semenya's future as a track athlete could be decided next Friday when the IAAF, the world governing body for athletics, announces its ruling on the medical tests and legal implications.

However, she insists that neither controversy nor the fame has changed the person she is.

"What is the point of me changing? If I became another person it would be bad. If I acted in a different way with my friends they would not be happy. It's important I stay the same. I know who I am. I can't change what say," she says.

Since joining the training facility in Pretoria this January, Semenya has lowered her personal best in the 800m by more than eight seconds.

"I am a fighter. I never give up. And I knew I was going to get better," she asserts. (ANI)

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