Caster Semenya’s plan to run the 800m at the upcoming athletics World Championship without medical intervention has been scuppered by a shocking new court decision.
A Swiss judge has overturned a temporary suspension of the IAAF’s controversial testosterone regulations that had been granted in June by Switzerland’s Federal Tribunal.
This means that if she wants to defend her 800m World Championship title in Doha in late September she will have to take hormone medication to reduce her testosterone levels.
The athlete has made it clear that this is a violation of her human rights and she will not do it. The latest decision is a blow to the athlete who has been fighting for a decade to be allowed to run freely with her natural talents.
“I am very disappointed to be kept from defending my hard-earned title, but this will not deter me from continuing my fight for the human rights of all of the female athletes concerned,” said Semenya in a statement.
The ruling does not affect the Olympian’s ongoing legal challenge against the 1 May ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in favour of the IAAF policy.
“We will continue to pursue Caster’s appeal and fight for her fundamental human rights. A race is always decided at the finish line,” commented Semenya’s lawyer, Dorothee Schramm.
The discriminatory IAAF regulations aim to force women athletes with naturally high testosterone levels, like Semenya, to take hormone medication in order to be allowed to compete in the 400m to the mile distances.
In a statement, the IAAF welcomed the judge’s decision. It insisted that “there are some contexts, sport being one of them, where biology has to trump gender identity, which is why the IAAF believes (and the CAS agreed) that the DSD (differences of sexual development) regulations are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of protecting fair and meaningful competition in elite female athletics.”
Semenya’s legal team argues that the rules violate the LGBTIQ champion’s rights to physical integrity, economic freedom and human dignity.
The IAAF regulations have been condemned by human rights groups, the World Medical Association, the UN Human Rights Council, Athletics South Africa and thousands of South Africans.