Two-time Olympic 800 metres champion Caster Semenya has denied reports that the South African Government are paying her legal fees as her appeal against an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruling,which could see her banned from competing against women, continues.
The 28-year-old, also a three-time world champion, is four days into a tribunal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, (CAS) which is set to decide whether she must take medication to reduce her testosterone levels.
The South African has abnormally high levels of the hormone in her system due to differences of sexual development, (DSD) and the IAAF has long claimed it gives her an unfair advantage over women with normal testosterone levels.
Last year they attempted to introduce a rule, which if upheld by the CAS, would force Semenya either to take medication to suppress the hormones creation, or compete against men, but Semenya launched a legal challenge against the ruling and a case at the CAS is now underway.
The South African Government are one of several bodies to have publicly backed Semenya in the case and it has been widely reported they have paid her R25 million (£1.4 million/$1.8 million/€1.6 million) to help cover her legal fees.
She has now released a statement however, denying that is the case.
"While I have no knowledge of what was paid by the Government to its legal and medical team in respect of its own case, my personal representation has been funded mainly by private funders and the portion by the Government is a small fraction of the amount that has been quoted in the article," Semenya said.
Semenya also warned people against donating money to campaigns claiming to support her cause.
"It has also come to my attention that there is a petition that has been started by an organisation in support of me which requests, as part of a sign-up, a donation of money," she said.
"I have no knowledge of and have no affiliation to this petition. It has not been sanctioned by me. I will not be receiving any of these funds and donors are advised accordingly.
"I am grateful for all the local and global support that I have received.”
The IAAF has received widespread criticism for their proposed rule but they have remained defiant, previously claiming having DSD athletes competing against women is comparable to adults racing against children.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe again defended their stance when he arrived at CAS on Monday (February 18).
"The core value for the IAAF is the empowerment of girls and women through athletics," he said.
"The regulations that we are introducing are there to protect the sanctity of fair and open competition."