Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
30 Mar 2019
7:10 am

ASA stands firm in support of Semenya

Wesley Botton

The local federation ends a week of sparring as the anxious wait on her CAS ruling intensifies.

FILE PHOTO: Athletics - Diamond League - Letzigrund Stadium, Zurich, Switzerland - August 30, 2018 Caster Semenya of South Africa before the Women's 800m. Picture: REUTERS / Arnd Wiegmann / File Photo

Again joining the battle, after middle-distance runner Caster Semenya hit back at the global body earlier this week, Athletics South Africa (ASA) lashed out at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for allegedly breaking a confidentiality agreement in an ongoing case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

“The IAAF have on several occasions issued media releases and its president has seen fit to comment publicly on matters relating to the regulations,” ASA said in a statement.

Semenya’s legal team had criticised IAAF president Sebastian Coe, accusing him of “opening old wounds” after he had reportedly told Australian newspaper the Daily Telegraph that it was crucial to regulate athletes who were born with differences of sexual development (DSD) in order to ensure fair competition.

“ASA calls upon the IAAF and its president, Seb Coe, to refrain from further public comment pending the outcome of the CAS award,” ASA said.

While the IAAF maintained its stance that regulations were required to ensure fairness in women’s athletics, ASA stood firm in its support of Semenya after it had filed its own appeal to challenge new international gender rules.

“We support the rebuke issued by miss Semenya’s lawyers,” the federation said.

“We agree that the DSD regulations are discriminatory on a number of bases including birth, sex, gender, physical appearance, and the fact they are restricted to specific (track and field) events.”

ASA, meanwhile, also shared its concerns regarding apparent confusion between worldwide debates which were raging simultaneously regarding athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD), which included women who were born with hyperandrogenism, and transgender athletes.

“ASA takes the opportunity to state that the pending matter before the CAS has nothing to do with transgender athletes.

“Any public comment or discourse linking the transgender debate to the pending matter before the CAS is unhelpful, serving only to reinforce by implication a false position that DSD athletes are biologically male.”

A decision on the IAAF’s controversial new gender rules, which would regulate DSD athletes and potentially restrict them from competing internationally against women, is expected to be made by the CAS by the end of April.

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