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S-African athlete drags IAAF before human rights court over ban

By News Desk

The 800m Olympic champion, Caster Semenya, has concluded plans drag the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) before European Court of Human Rights to appeal the ban imposed on her over Differences in Sexual Development (DSD)

Semenya, who was banned by the World Athletics governing body two years ago over her sexual status, said that her decision to challenge the ban was not for her but for future occurrences.

The athlete and others with DSD were restricted from participating in races between 400 meters and a mile unless they take testosterone-reducing drugs, preventing Semanya from defending her title.

Confirming the suit, the South African athlete counsel, Gregory Nott, in a statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday, said that the move was to overturn the hormone-drug rule.

Nott, although did not specify the timeframe, said: “We will be taking World Athletics to the European Court of Human Rights. We remain hopeful that World Athletics will see the error it has made and reverse the prohibitive rules which restrict Ms. Semenya from competing”.

Semenya, 29, who has elevated testosterone due to DSD, identifies as a woman and races as a woman had previously unsuccessfully appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and to the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT).

 

But for World Athletics, women with some masculine attributes like Semenya have an unfair advantage — a position hotly contested by South African officials.

Parliament, the South African Human Rights Commission, and the South African Commission for Gender Equality are among those that have thrown their weight behind Semenya in the fight.

Her lawyers said the growing support from institutions and bodies across the globe for the athlete was encouraging amid the legal battles.

“We remain inspired by Ms. Semenya’s indomitable spirit and will remain steadfast in our stand against discrimination until she is allowed to run free from persecution,” Nott said.

Semenya, who has over several months ran the 200-meter sprint, which falls outside of the World Athletics regulations, was yet to indicate if she would maintain distance at the Tokyo Olympics next year when she competes for Athletics South Africa

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