Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya says she is fighting to set a precedent for athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) after launching another appeal in her ongoing legal battle to have international rules overturned.
Semenya, who remains sidelined from her specialist two-lap distance ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in July, confirmed on Thursday she had filed an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights.
“This fight is not just about me. It’s about taking a stand and fighting for dignity, equality and the human rights of women in sport,” Semenya said.
“All we ask is to be able to run free as the strong and fearless women we are.”
This fight is not just about me, it’s about taking a stand and fighting for dignity, equality and the human rights of women in sport. All we ask is to be able to run free as the strong and fearless women we are!! Thank you to all of those who have stood behind me✊???? pic.twitter.com/0PdBiujH8b
— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) February 25, 2021
Semenya’s legal team said the examinations and procedures which DSD athletes were required to undergo were “humiliating and harmful”.
“Caster’s application continues her challenge the demeaning and intrusive regulations implemented by World Athletics in 2018 which prohibit some women athletes with naturally higher levels of testosterone from participating in international comprtitions,” Norton Rose Fulbright said in a statement.
The Swiss Federal Supreme Court had dismissed a joint appeal by Semenya and Athletics South Africa in September last year, upholding a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which allowed World Athletics to restrict Semenya and other DSD athletes over distances ranging from 400m to the mile (1 609m).
However, while Semenya remains suspended from her favourite distances (unless she takes hormone suppressants) she has stated she will target the Olympic qualifying standard in the 200m event, which she is free to run unrestrained.
She has not yet achieved the required criteria in the half-lap sprint, but even if her latest appeal to race in the 800m event is unsuccessful, the former world champion should have multiple opportunities to book her place in South Africa’s Olympic team over the 200m distance before the qualifying deadline at the end of June.