Fighting back! What you need to know about Caster Semenya's appeal

30 May 2019 - 18:32 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Caster Semenya has received support after the controversial IAAF ruling.
Caster Semenya has received support after the controversial IAAF ruling.
Image: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images for IAAF

Athlete Caster Semenya is appealing the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport after losing her quest to have the International Association of Athletics Federations withdraw the testosterone reduction law.

Here's everything you need to know. 

Background

In February, the IAAF came under fire following claims that the federation planned to classify Semenya as a "biological male" due to high testosterone levels. The federation later denied this, saying they were looking to impose a law which would compel Semenya and other female athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD) to medically reduce their testosterone levels.

To fight the federation's proposal, Semenya and her team of lawyers took the matter to Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS).

CAS ruling

In May, the CAS ruled against Semenya, saying it would continue to uphold the IAAF's ruling to have her and other female athletes with naturally high testosterone levels medically reduce the hormone in order to compete in international races. 

Semenya was given 30 days to appeal this decision. 

Outrage

This ruling was met with anger from the public who continued to rally behind Semenya, whether or not she decided to fight the court's decision. Semenya remained rooted in her belief that she would find a way out of the federation's injustice.

"One of my firm beliefs is that there is always a way out of everything. So if a wall is placed in front of me, I will jump [over] it."

Appeal

A statement issued on behalf of Semenya's legal team said the athlete had filed an appeal to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland to have the IAAF reverse its decision to medically reduce Semenya's naturally high testosterone levels in order to compete.

Semenya also remains adamant that she will not be drugged to compete. "I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete. The IAAF will not stop me from being who I am."

What's next?

While there is no definite confirmation from either the court or Semenya's legal team, chances are the matter will not have been settled in time for the world championships in Doha from September 28 to October 6. 

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