Defiant Caster ready to give up 800m title
Caster Semenya is ready to sacrifice her 800m world title to instead mount a legal fight against the landmark ruling on testosterone-reducing drugs.
The double Olympic champion's lawyer told The Daily Telegraph she will continue to defy the enforced medication as the deadline expired for athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD) to comply with the new rules in time for the World Championships.
Semenya also tweeted a picture of a clenched fist with the word "resist".
Following last week's Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) ruling, she now faces a race against time to launch an appeal at the Swiss Federal Tribunal by the end of the month to resurrect any chance of competing in September.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had set a deadline of Wednesday for DSD athletes to submit samples showing a testosterone level below five nanomoles per litre, which they must maintain over the next four-and-a-half months. Gregory Nott, one of Semenya's legal representatives, confirmed it was "very safe to say" she will continue avoiding any curbs to her testosterone levels.
The IAAF has been criticised for the rules, with allegations that the science is flawed, regulations ethically dubious and potential medical side-effects unknown.
The World Medical Association (WMA) has urged its member physicians in 114 countries not to assist in the implementation of the regulations.
In response, the IAAF has written to the WMA, saying the rules have been developed after "many scientific publications and observations from the field during the last 15 years".
The sporting body clarified that the regulations only apply to DSD athletes who are legally female (or intersex), have male chromosomes (XY) not female chromosomes (XX), testes not ovaries, testosterone in the male range and the ability to make use of that testosterone circulating within their bodies.
"In 46XY DSD individuals, reducing serum testosterone to female levels by using a contraceptive pill (or other means) is the recognised standard of care for 46XY DSD athletes with a female gender identity. These medications are gender-affirming," the IAAF letter said, adding that athletes who submit to the regulations will be assured of privacy.
Semenya, who last week lost her appeal to Cas over the implementation of the regulations, which cover races from 400m to a mile, is firm in her decision not to comply.
"I will be here defending the world. I'm never going anywhere," she told reporters after winning the 800m at the Doha Diamond League meeting last Friday. "I believe in my legal team, they will do their best to get me back on the track."
But she also suggested that her return to Doha could see her compete over distances not covered by the regulations. "I'm a power athlete, I can run from 100m to 5km, so I can run any race I want."
One option thought to be available to Semenya is to fight the ruling on human rights grounds, but the IAAF has said this week it is not subject to such laws as it "is not a public authority, exercising state powers, but rather a private body exercising private (contractual) powers".
"Therefore, it is not subject to human rights instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the European Convention on Human Rights," a statement said.
Dr Seema Patel, a supporter of Semenya's at Nottingham Law School, told The Telegraph her grounds for appeal remain "very limited".
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