‘Why can’t Caster compete?’ – Social media questions transgender athlete competing in Olympics

Olympic champion Caster Semenya. File photo.
Olympic champion Caster Semenya. File photo.

South African Olympic champion Caster Semenya is trending on social media alongside New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard.

Hubbard is a transgender woman who is set to make history as the first transgender woman to compete at the Olympic Games. The 43-year-old had competed in men's weightlifting competitions before transitioning in 2013.

Hubbard's selection has sparked fierce debate on social media, with scores questioning whether she would have an added advantage. 

Hubbard has been eligible to compete in the Olympics since 2015, when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman if their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.

It didn't take long for Semenya to top the Twitter trends list, as supporters questioned why she is still not allowed to compete in events between 400m and a mile without taking testosterone-reducing drugs.

In 2019, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court banned Caster from competing while her lawsuit against the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) over regulation of her testosterone levels continued.

She lost her appeal last year but vowed to continue fighting the ruling. 

TimesLIVE reported that Semenya hoped to compete in the women's 5,000m in Tokyo but missed her qualifying attempt in Germany over the weekend. She finished fourth in 15 min 57.12 sec, missing the 15:10.00 criterion. 

Here are some social media reactions to Hubbard possibly competing in the Olympics: