Caster Semenya Barred From 800 Meters At World Championships

Semenya, the 800m Olympic title winner in 2012 and 2016, was fighting IAAF’s imposed “hyperandrogenic” rules — the regulations for athletes with 'Differences of Sexual Development' who want to compete in the female category.

Ria Das
Jul 31, 2019 07:35 IST
Caster Semenya world championships

Even as the dust of an earlier Caster Semenya controversy was about to settle down, news hits the stands again, in a setback on Tuesday, the South African double Olympic 800m champion is barred from running her signature event at this year’s world track and field championships. The legal ruling of highly-charged case about testosterone levels and restrictions in still ongoing and has placed restrictions on intersex athletes to compete in certain women’s events.


The Swiss Supreme Court has reversed a decision they had made in June and re-imposed the hormone restrictions set forth by track and field’s world governing body in women’s events from 400 meters to the mile but it is temporary for now. World Championships is scheduled to be held from Sept 28-Oct 6 in Doha, Qatar.

“I am very disappointed to be kept from defending my hard-earned title,” Semenya said in a statement about her ineligibility to run the 800 at world track championships. She added, “This will not deter me from continuing my fight for the human rights of all of the female athletes concerned,” The New York Times reported.

“Even though the hormonal drugs made me feel constantly sick, the IAAF now wants to enforce even stricter thresholds with unknown health consequences,” Semenya had earlier said in a statement.


Now Semenya’s attorney is planning to continue an appeal. Dorothee Schramm, the lawyer, told reporters, “We will continue to pursue Caster’s appeal and fight for her fundamental human rights. A race is always decided at the finish line.”

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In June, Semenya was announced free to run the 800m without having to take medication. Then she had been denied participation in her favoured 800 metres race in Morocco. The upset athlete said that despite Switzerland’s highest court rejecting an IAAF request for eligibility regulations to be imposed on the South African, she is barred from running Morocco race. She appealed against International IAAF’s rules over testosterone levels in female athletes. Earlier the Swiss Supreme Federal Court ordered the IAAF to suspend its testosterone regulations for Semenya until June 25. The IAAF wanted a rule making it compulsory for female athletes with high level of testosterone to take suppressant if they wish to compete with the other women participants in international sporting events such as Olympics.


“The IAAF considers that the DSD (difference of sex development) Regulations are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of protecting fair and meaningful competition in elite female athletics, and the CAS agreed.”

“She has been raised as a woman. She has lived as a woman. She has run as a woman. She is – and always has been – recognised in law as a woman and has always identified as a woman,” The athlete’s lawyers issued a statement.

Semenya, the 800m Olympic title winner in 2012 and 2016, was fighting IAAF’s imposed “hyperandrogenic” rules — the regulations for athletes with 'Differences of Sexual Development' who want to compete in the female category.


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Feature Picture Credit: EWN

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