Caster Semenya lodges her appeal against CAS decision

29 May 2019 - 20:44 By David Isaacson
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Caster Semenya.
Caster Semenya.
Image: Caster Semenya via Twitter

Caster Semenya has filed an appeal asking the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland to set aside the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision in favour of the IAAF’s female eligibility regulations.

The CAS ruled against Semenya on May 1‚ saying the athletics world governing body’s rules — which requires athletes with Differences of Sex Development to take medication to lower naturally occurring high levels of testosterone — were discriminatory but necessary. 

Semenya’s team had 30 days to lodge an appeal‚ although the SA sports ministry had already announced it had instructed Athletics SA to proceed with the appeal. 

“Ms Semenya’s appeal focuses on fundamental human rights‚” a statement issued on behalf of the athlete’s lawyers read. 

“In particular‚ the Swiss Federal Supreme 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 againt discrimination‚ the right to physical integrity‚ the right to economic freedom‚ and respect for human dignity.”

Dr Dorothee Schramm of Sidley Austin LLP in Geneva‚ who is leading the appeal‚ said the IAAF regulations violated the most fundamental principles of Swiss public policy. “In the race for justice‚ human rights must win over sporting interests.”

Semenya’s SA-based lawyer‚ Greg Nott‚ said it was gravely concerning that the IAAF had called on doctors to clarify the gender identities of female athletes and justified medical interventions on female athletes as gender-affirming. “Such views are based not in modern science or medicine.”

Semenya reiterated her stance that she would not take medication. “I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete. The IAAF will not drug me or stop me from being who I am.”

The regulations prevent Semenya from competing in events from 400m to the mile unless she takes testosterone-lowering medication‚ but she has committed to competing in a 3‚000m race in the US at the end of June. 

It’s not anticipated that the appeal will be settled in time for the world championships in Doha from September 28 to October 6. 

Semenya won the 800m gold and 1‚500m bronze at the last championships at London 2017. ​


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