South African athlete, Mokgadi Caster Semenya, has revealed that she had to walk into the changing room naked just to prove that she was a girl.
The Olympic gold medalist has been banned from competing in world female track and field championships for refusing hormone treatments to reduce her testosterone levels.
She has, however, disclosed that during her younger years, she walked into the athletes’ dressing room naked just to prove to her teammates who were struggling to compete with her that she was female.
Semenya shared this part of her life's story at the Standard Bank Top Women Conference which held at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park on the East Rand.
“I was always in the bush [training]. Bullies for me never existed because how I responded to them, was way rough. I was one of those young [ladies] that had no fear. I had goals. I knew that everything I touched would turn to gold,” the 28-year-old said.
“My dad thought I was going to be with Banyana Banyana but I disappointed him because I had to sell my soccer boots for spikes instead. He was quite surprised. Running is my destiny. When I’m on track, I forget about everything.
“I think my parents raised me well. They have never questioned what I do, my feelings, how I see life. They accepted me for who I am. They could see that this one was a little bit different. I did not like being in the kitchen but being in the garden. I just wanted to give you background why I am tough, why am I fearless, why I do not care about what other people think about me.
“They started questioning, are you really a girl? One day, I walked naked in the changing room [to prove to them]."