IAAF ready to fight Swiss court's testosterone ruling

PARIS • The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has said it will seek a swift reversion of Monday's Swiss court ruling in favour of two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya.

The South African has appealed against a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision that supported the IAAF's rule that athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs), like herself, can race in distances from 400m to a mile only if they take medication to lower their testosterone levels.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) on Monday ruled Semenya will be able to run in her favoured 800m event without taking medication until her appeal has been ruled on.

In response, the IAAF said in a statement that it would seek a "swift reversion of the superprovisional order... to avoid serious confusion among athletes and event organisers and to protect the integrity of the sport". It added that the suspension of regulations applied only to Semenya and will be in effect until June 25.

"The SFT's decision was ex parte, meaning that it was requested and issued without the IAAF's knowledge," it said. "The IAAF did not receive appellant's filings or the order until today and so has not had the chance to explain why the DSD regulations should remain in force and applicable to all affected athletes while the appeal is pending."

In defence of its rules, the IAAF said it was committed to the full participation of women in athletics and would continue to fight for equal rights and opportunities for all women.

Its statement added: "However, the IAAF is convinced there are some contexts, sport being one of them, where biology has to trump identity. The IAAF also believes the right to participate in sport does not translate to a right to self-identify into a competition category or an event."

Both legal teams must now make further submissions to the court, which will decide on whether to order a longer suspension of the measures.

Semenya, 28, has confirmed that she will take part in the rare 2,000m at a meeting in Montreuil in the Paris suburbs next Tuesday.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2019, with the headline 'IAAF ready to fight Swiss court's testosterone ruling'. Print Edition | Subscribe