Caster Semenya: For Now She Can Run Free, As Swiss Court Floors IAAF

Caster Semenya gold medal

Caster Semenya’s appeal against International IAAF’s rules over testosterone levels in female athletes has reached another mark since in a surprise news she is once again free to run the 800m without having to take medication. For now she is free to run marathons without any medicine as the Swiss Supreme Federal Court ordered the IAAF to suspend its testosterone regulations for her with immediate effect. 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.

Now the Olympic champion can compete in distances ranging from 400m to a mile without medication until at least 25 June. However, for now it applies only to the South African athlete, who can benefit from this ruling. It excludes other athletes with differences in sexual development.

“The court has ordered the IAAF to suspend immediately the implementation of the regulation with regard to Caster and has given the IAAF until 25 June to respond to the suspense of effect. It is absolutely positive news,” said Semenya’s lawyer, Greg Nott, The Guardian reported.

In a statement Semenya thanked the Swiss judges for their decision. “I hope that following my appeal I will once again be able to run free,” she added.

Earlier C. K. Valson, Secretary of the Athletics Federation of India, had said the CAS verdict will not affect Indian athletes in a big way.

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“I don’t find any problem as of now because Dutee Chand runs only the 100m and 200m. In the case of other athletes, there is no concrete evidence as of now,” said Valson told Sportstar.

Indian ace Dutee Chand won her challenge in the CAS against the IAAF rules on testosterone levels in 2015.

Having fought and won a long legal battle over her own hyperandrogenism or elevated levels of male sex hormones, Dutee said she understands the pain the South African star athlete is suffering due to IAAF’s stance.

“As soon as I heard the news I felt sad for Semenya. My mind went back to those nearly two years which were my worst days when I did not know what to do. But Semenya has been facing this for a long time (since 2009) and so it is not a sudden thing. I think and hope she will be able to face this better than me,” supporting Semenya’s stance Dutee said, who competes in 100m and 200m events, told PTI.

The Indian sprinter had been through a humiliating gender row herself. This decision implies that women with higher testosterone will have to take suppressive treatment or medication to compete as females in 400m, 800m and 1500m.

“This is a wrong policy of the IAAF and whatever reason they are giving, it is wrong. I fought my case and I won but now Semenya and some others are at the receiving end,” Dutee said

“This is a wrong policy of the IAAF and whatever reason they are giving, it is wrong. I fought my case and I won but now Semenya and some others are at the receiving end,” she added.

“I don’t know what she will do; whether she will take medication (to reduce testosterone level) I cannot say. Whether to file appeal/review she and her team will be able to say. I feel for her and I feel this policy of the IAAF should be completely done away with,” Dutee told. After her return, the star runner won 100m and 200m silver at last year’s Asian Games.

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.

Feature Picture Credit: BBC

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