Global governing body says it will “continue to fight for equal rights and opportunities for all women and girls” in athletics
The IAAF has said it will seek “a swift reversion” of a Swiss court order which has instructed the global governing body to suspend the application of its new regulations on female classification for Caster Semenya.
On Monday, Semenya’s legal team announced that the two-time Olympic 800m champion could return to race “without restriction” while her appeal against the IAAF’s new rules is pending, adding that the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland had “ordered the IAAF to immediately suspend the implementation of the eligibility regulations against Caster Semenya”.
The following day, the IAAF released a statement confirming that, on Tuesday at 15:00 CET, it had received a “superprovisional order” from the Swiss court instructing the governing body to suspend the application of its ‘Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athletes with Differences of Sex Development (DSD))’ “as they apply to the appellant”.
The IAAF response added: “No other athlete is covered by the order. As of this date, the order is scheduled to remain in force only until 25 June 2019, the time the SFT (Swiss Federal Tribunal) has given the IAAF to respond to the appellant’s case.”
The “superprovisional order” follows an appeal from Semenya after she lost her landmark case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the IAAF’s new rules, which relate to restricting testosterone levels in female runners in certain events.
The DSD Regulations had originally been due to come into effect on November 1, 2018, but were suspended. Following the CAS ruling, the regulations started on May 8.
Under the new rules Semenya – and other female athletes with DSD – would need to reduce their natural testosterone level in order to take part in women’s events from 400m to the mile in international competition.
In its response statement, the IAAF said it will “continue to fight for equal rights and opportunities for all women and girls in our sport today and in the future”.
It added: “The IAAF is committed to the full participation of women in the sport of athletics, be that as elite female athletes in fair and meaningful competition, as young girls developing life and sport skills, or as administrators or officials. Regrettably, it was not so long ago that women were not permitted to compete in sport at all. There is a lot of work to be done, but we are at the forefront of that work, including being one of the only international sports federations to pay women and men equal prize money.
“The IAAF fully respects each individual’s personal dignity and supports the social movement to have people accepted in society based on their chosen legal sex and/or gender identity.
“However, the IAAF is convinced there are some contexts, sport being one of them, where biology has to trump identity.”
The full IAAF response can be found here.