Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya seems to have lost her lengthy legal battle with World Athletics
800m double-Olympic champion Caster Semenya appears to have lost her long legal battle against new hormone regulations that require women with high levels of testosterone to take medication to suppress this if they want to compete internationally in 400m, 800m or 1500m races.
The regulations were introduced based on World Athletics’ 2018 policy for athletes with ‘differences of sex development’, deemed necessary to ensure fairness in women’s sport. Semenya, who competes in all three of the affected distances, began legally challenging the rule in June 2018 in a series of appeals, the latest of which has been dismissed by a Swiss tribunal which stated that the testosterone regulations could “not be challenged”.
This fresh loss will come as a blow to Semenya, who said last year that the ongoing case had “destroyed” her “mentally and physically”. It’s also taking its toll on her career, as it now looks unlikely that she’ll be able to defend her title at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
She responded to the tribunal’s decision by accusing World Athletics of being “on the wrong side of history”, and maintained her position of refusing to “let World Athletics drug [her] or stop [her] from being who [she is]”.
World Athletics made the following statement about the tribunal ruling: “World Athletics has always maintained that its regulations are lawful and legitimate, and that they represent a fair, necessary and proportionate means of ensuring the rights of all female athletes to participate on fair and equal terms,” it said. “It has rejected the suggestion that they infringe any athlete’s human rights, including the right to dignity and the right to bodily integrity.”