Caster Semenya: “I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete”

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Caster Semenya has issued a defiant statement of affirmation as she files an appeal against the recent ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The LGBTIQ Olympic champion announced that she will fight the CAS decision upholding discriminatory International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulations on women runners.

The regulations would force her to take hormone medication in order to be allowed to compete in her preferred distances. “I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete,” Semenya said in the statement. “The IAAF will not drug me or stop me from being who I am.”

The appeal will be filed in the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. “The court will be asked to consider whether the IAAF’s requirements for compulsory drug interventions violate essential and widely recognised public policy values, including the prohibition against discrimination, the right to physical integrity, the right to economic freedom, and respect for human dignity,” reads the statement.

Semenya’s lawyer, Dorothee Schramm, argued that, “The IAAF regulations violate the most fundamental principles of Swiss public policy.”

She added: “In the race for justice, human rights must win over sporting interests.”

Earlier this month, the CAS ruled in favour of the new IAAF policy requiring women athletes with specific differences in sex development to medically reduce their natural blood testosterone.

While the CAS acknowledged that the policy is discriminatory, it insisted that it is still “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” to ensure fairness in the sport.

The IAAF policy has been condemned by human rights groups, the World Medical Association, the UN Human Rights Council, and thousands of South Africans.

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