US of­fi­cial backs Se­menya

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - SAMEER NAIK

A PROMINENT board mem­ber of the US ath­let­ics team has lashed out at Bri­tish marathon run­ner Paula Rad­cliffe fol­low­ing her crit­i­cism of South African 800m star Caster Se­menya.

Adrian Crichlow, a board mem­ber of the Amer­i­can team, has dis­missed Rad­cliffe’s com­ments as “un­e­d­u­cated”, say­ing he was “be­mused” Rad­cliffe had ques­tioned Se­menya’s ex­pected dom­i­nance in the 800m at the Rio Olympics.

He has said Se­menya would make an in­spir­ing speaker in New York.

Se­menya is the over­whelm­ing favourite to pick up gold, but Rad­cliffe said the 25-yearold’s gen­der con­tro­versy would cast a shadow over any vic­tory.

In an in­ter­view with BBC ra­dio, Rad­cliffe said the ex­pec­ta­tion was there would be no other re­sult than a Se­menya vic­tory.

“Then it’s no longer sport and it’s no longer an open race. Ob­vi­ously there is an is­sue, and there is an is­sue that needs to be un­der­stood a lot bet­ter.”.

Crichlow said the Bri­tish ath­lete had no right to crit­i­cise Se­menya. “I don’t think Paula Rad­cliffe is fully ed­u­cated on Caster Se­menya’s sit­u­a­tion as she states,” said Crichlow. ”

Rad­cliffe is not the only ath­lete to have crit­i­cised Se­menya.

A num­ber of her ri­vals have be­gun to fan the flames of con­tro­versy over the South African ath­lete’s sex.

“Other ath­letes of the sport un­e­d­u­cated on Caster’s sit­u­a­tion are just ex­press­ing ig­no­rant com­ments, not know­ing the grav­ity of its ef­fects on some­one who shares the same pas­sion for a sport as they do,” said Crichlow.

Crichlow deals with ath­letes from youths all the way up to pro­fes­sion­als and has come out in full sup­port of Se­menya ahead of the Games.

“Caster is dis­play­ing a great deal of strength, courage and per­se­ver­ance through­out her or­deals,” said Crichlow.

“Her vic­tory will prove that’s the re­ward for ex­er­cis­ing th­ese traits to oth­ers like her­self, and a gen­eral mes­sage over­all.”

Although other ath­letes have “bul­lied” her, Crichlow be­lieves Se­menya will shine in Rio.

“See­ing Caster’s progress through the 2016 sea­son, she seems to be in a bet­ter place.

“I be­lieve she’s in a bet­ter place be­cause of a stronger sup­port sys­tem.

“I think Caster knows and feels that now.

“The bul­ly­ing may still ex­ist, but Caster’s fortress of love and sup­port shouldn’t al­low any neg­a­tiv­ity to shy away from her mis­sion.”

Se­menya won the 2009 world cham­pi­onshp 800m ti­tle and was sec­ond in the Lon­don Olympics in 2012.

Caster Se­menya

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