IAAF: Stop destroying the lives and careers of your athletes!

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Dear Sebastian Coe,

I am not Caster Semenya. I have not been a World Champion. I have not won an Olympic medal. You may not have ever heard of me.

My name is Annet Negesa.

I am one of those athletes with high testosterone whom your doctors asked me to undergo surgery. Mr. Coe, I did not have a health risk. I was perfectly healthy. Your doctors made me go under the knife because I wanted to compete.

Never before was my identity questioned. Never before was I made to feel inadequate. The IAAF made me feel I was something  less than human. I didn't know before that my body produced high level of testosterone. I only knew that I was in a much disadvantaged place compared to most athletes in your part of the world, Mr. Coe. My family struggled to provide me food and shelter. Do you know what it is like?

In 2012, I was a happy young woman and one of the best athletes from my country, Uganda. I had dreams. My family had dreams. But our dreams were shattered.

Following the implementation of the Hyperandrogenism Regulations in 2011, the IAAF stopped me from competing in 2012, weeks before the Olympic Games in London. Later that year, the IAAF doctors asked me to travel to Nice and conducted a very intrusive medical investigation. I felt terrible during the tests. Your doctors spoke to my manager in a language I couldn't understand. Your doctors told me I needed to do a ‘simple thing’ to be able to compete again.

Nothing was explained. No clear information was given.

They advised the national federation to take me to a doctor in Uganda. I didn't know until after the surgery was performed that I was having surgery. As the days passed by, I realised my body was changed forever. I felt weak and was not able to compete. Your doctors never reached out again. Did they really care?

In the last seven years, I have lost my ability to compete and to earn a livelihood. I have now come to know that my body needed life-long estrogen therapy after the surgery. I wonder why your doctors never mentioned this to me. Having such kind of surgery without a proper hormone medication afterwards certainly leads to serious health problems and can even cause death. Had they really cared for athletes’ well being, they would have told me.

Clearly they didn't care.

I loved sports. I thought that athletics can transform my life and several other young girls’ lives in a positive way.

But it has destroyed my life.

It has made me doubt my own self. I have kept quiet for too long. Not anymore.

Mr. Coe, you must stop this from happening again.

You must take responsibility.

Enough is enough.

#mybodymyright // #safeathletics