Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
25 Feb 2021
4:06 pm

Another appeal as Caster Semenya keeps up the fight

Wesley Botton

Semenya's legal team says the examinations and procedures which DSD athletes are required to undergo are "humiliating and harmful".

Caster Semenya has taken her long-running battle to the European Court of Human Rights. Lux is now on board behind her. Picture: Getty Images

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.”

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.

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya on her way to victory in the women’s 800m final at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Picture: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

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.

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