Thursday 24 October 2019

Runner fights new rules which might Caster into the cold


South African 800 meters Olympic champion Caster Semenya
South African 800 meters Olympic champion Caster Semenya
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Caster Semenya is a champion middle-distance runner. She was born intersex (known as Disorders of Sex Development, or DSD) and has naturally occurring levels of testosterone far above the female norm. This has, critics claim, allowed her to become that champion.

On Moncrieff (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 2pm), sportswriter Sean Ingle explained why she's in the news. Semenya has gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to challenge a proposed ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federations that would force her to lower her testosterone levels.

This would bring her from a world record-breaker to a decent runner who'd qualify for the Olympics but not make the winner's podium. The Olympic Council wants to bring in similar rules for transgender athletes.

We heard that authorities, and Semenya's fellow athletes, are afraid of coming across too strong for fear of being accused of transphobia. Ingle reckoned that a lot of women "quietly" think this is a good idea but, he added, it's almost impossible to settle in a way that's fair to everyone.

On one level, it seems like a storm in a teacup - a triviality - but this case is connected to broader arguments currently raging about transgender people, and where their rights clash with those of biological women. The fall-out could have ramifications for more than just a race.

Someone among us is €175m richer, after an Irish ticket holder won the ninth biggest jackpot in EuroMillions history. Morning Ireland (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 7am) spoke to investment strategist Dan Moroney about what the lucky blighter should now do.

His company has advised Lotto winners before, although for much smaller amounts. "My first thought was, I hope it's won by a syndicate - because that could be an overwhelming amount of money, for an individual, to land all in one go," he said.

There's a real shock factor with these things, a large windfall out of the blue. "The primary advice would be to take your time, take advice - don't do anything in haste," he added.

So get solid legal and investment advice from a reputable source, and put a long-term plan in place. Bryan Dobson drolly concluded: "Not under the mattress, anyway."

Rob Newman's Total Eclipse of Descartes (BBC Radio 4, Wed 11.30am) is a fairly funny and very clever comedic unpicking of 3,000 years of world philosophy. Genetics, international politics, the philosophy of education, existentialists: the jokes don't always land perfectly, but more than enough of them do.

And it's lovely to see a comedian with the intellectual ambition and nerve to even attempt this, rather than the usual "God isn't Brexit such a disaster!" banalities.

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