Olympic 800m champion can compete “without restriction” during appeal process after governing body’s attempt to reverse the suspension of new rules on female classification fails
The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland has rejected the IAAF’s request to reimpose its eligibility regulations on Caster Semenya, the two-time Olympic 800m champion’s legal team has said.
Earlier this month, the global governing body said it would be seeking “a swift reversion” of the Swiss court order which allows Semenya to race “without restriction” while her appeal against the IAAF’s new rules on female classification is pending.
“In an order issued on June 12, the Swiss Supreme Court upheld its prior order issued by the Court on May 31 in favour of Caster Semenya,” reads a statement from Semenya’s legal team.
“The Supreme Court’s prior order requires the IAAF to immediately suspend the implementation of its eligibility regulations against Caster Semenya in light of the athlete’s pending appeal. After considering the IAAF’s arguments, the Court has now determined in a second order that the IAAF’s request failed to set out any reason or change in circumstance that would justify a reconsideration of the prior order.
“This means that Caster remains permitted to compete without restriction in the female category at this time. The IAAF and Athletics South Africa have until June 25 to make submissions to the Supreme Court on Caster’s request that the IAAF regulations be suspended throughout the entire appeal proceedings. Until the Supreme Court decides on this request, the IAAF regulations remain suspended against Caster.”
According to the statement, Semenya said: “No woman should be subjected to these rules.
“I thought hard about not running the 800m in solidarity unless all women can run free. But I will run now to show the IAAF that they cannot drug us.”
Semenya had submitted an appeal 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 ‘IAAF Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athletes with Differences of Sex Development (DSD))’ 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.
According to a quote from Semenya in the statement from her legal team, the hormonal drugs she was required to take in order to comply with previous IAAF rules left her feeling “constantly sick”.
“I am a woman, but the IAAF has again tried to stop me from running the way I was born,” reads the quote.
“The IAAF questions my sex, causes me great pain and required me to take hormonal drugs that made me feel constantly sick and unable to focus for many years. No other woman should be forced to go through this in order to have the same right that all women have – to do what we love and run the way we were born.”
Semenya has been named in South Africa’s preliminary team for the IAAF World Championships in Doha later this year but her participation in the 800m there depends on the outcome of her appeal.