Double Olympic champion Caster Semenya says she has “never really felt very supported” by other women in sport.
South Africa’s three-time world 800m champion will not defend her title in Doha in September after a setback in her challenge to the restriction of testosterone levels in female runners.
“I’m targeted because I’m undefeated,” the 28-year-old said.
“Since I have been in sport, I have never really felt very supported, I’ve never felt recognised mostly by women.”
Talking as the headline speaker at a women’s conference in Johannesburg, Semenya added: “I think it comes more into the international stage when you see your own rivals come with this, what can I call it, these rude responses in terms of me competing against them.”
Semenya is challenging the International Association of Athletics Federations’ new rules that she and other athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) must either take testosterone-reducing medication in order to compete in track events from 400m to the mile, or change to another distance.
Potentially chasing a third successive Olympic gold should she compete in Tokyo next summer, Semenya had been able to race while awaiting the decision of a Swiss court, but a ruling allowing her to take part has since been overturned.
She has twice appealed against IAAF rules preventing her from running without medication.
On a perceived lack of support from her fellow athletes, Semenya added: “I’m the best at what I do. When you are the best in the world people get obsessed with what you are doing.
“Probably I’m a problem because I’m an over-achiever so we must get rid of you.
“Whoever is going to stop me from running is going to have to drag me out of the track. There’s not much that I can say about the case. What I can tell you is that I am on top of my game.” BBC Sports