Semenya lodges appeal to Switzerland's top court

PARIS • Double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya has lodged an appeal to Switzerland's Federal Supreme Court after losing her case against controversial IAAF rules forcing her to lower her testosterone levels.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport earlier this month rejected the South African's challenge against measures imposed by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) that compel "hyperandrogenic" athletes to lower their testosterone levels if they wish to compete as women.

"I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete. The IAAF will not drug me or stop me from being who I am," Semenya, 28, said on Wednesday in a statement confirming her appeal to Switzerland's top court.

New IAAF rules require women with higher-than-normal male hormone levels to artificially lower the amount of testosterone in their bodies to under 5 nmol/L, double the normal female range of below 2 nmol/L, if they are to compete in races over distances of 400m to the mile. Semenya's appeal will focus on "fundamental human rights" as she asks the court "to set aside the decision of the CAS in its entirety".

"The CAS decision condones the IAAF's requirements for unnecessary and unwanted hormonal drug interventions on female athletes despite the lack of any medical protocols and the uncertain health consequences of such interventions," the statement added.

Dorothee Schramm, who will be leading Semenya's appeal, said: "The IAAF regulations violate the most fundamental principles of Swiss public policy. In the race for justice, human rights must win over sporting interests."

Semenya will run in the 2,000m race in a meeting held in the Paris suburbs on June 11, and has also signed up for the 3,000m at the Prefontaine Classic in Stanford, California, on June 30.

Semenya also hopes to defend her 800m title at the world championships in Doha, which start on Sept 27.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2019, with the headline 'Semenya lodges appeal to Switzerland's top court'. Print Edition | Subscribe