London, July 16 (IANS) British Olympian Eilidh Doyle feels double Olympic champion Caster Semenya has been treated more harshly than drug offenders by athletics’ governing body.
Semenya, an Olympic 800m gold medallist in 2012 and 2016, will not be allowed to defend her 800m title at the 2019 World Championships after a Swiss court ruled in favour of an International Association of Athletics Federations ruling that requires her to take a testosterone-reducing medication.
“I feel so sorry for her,” said Doyle as quoted by BBC Sport.
“There are a lot of things that were done wrong with that. Caster Semenya was treated very poorly.
“I think athletics has bigger challenges and that’s where we need to be pushing. There are drugs cheats in our sport who are treated a lot better, who purposefully take things to cheat.”
Doyle, who will take part in her third Olympics next year to compete in the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay at Tokyo is calling for a lifetime ban for doping offences.
The first offence carries a maximum four-year suspension for athletes at present.
“There needs to be a big enough deterrent that the risk is far too big to take,” the 33-year-old told Fair Play: The Women in Sport podcast.
“If you’re caught taking a performance-enhancing drug, that’s it, you’re banned from your sport. It needs something hard hitting with credibility to make sure athletes who are perhaps maybe tempted to cheat definitely don’t.
“I love my sport but I hear people talk about it and they just assume anyone who does an amazing performance, they must be a cheat. There’s this black cloud over it.”