Caster Semenya
Caster Semenya
2 min read

South African middle-distance runner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist, Caster Semenya has issued a passionate statement fighting against a recent ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The 29-year-old LGBTI Olympic champion announced that she will fight the CAS decision that would force her to take hormone medication in order to be allowed to compete in her preferred distances.

“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,” Caster Semenya said in the statement, confirming that she will be appealing the decision in the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

“The court will be asked to consider whether the IAAF’s requirements for compulsory drug interventions violate essential and widely recognised public policy values, including the prohibition against discrimination, the right to physical integrity, the right to economic freedom, and respect for human dignity,” the statement continues.

South Africa's Caster Semenya competes in the women's 800m during the IAAF Diamond League competition in Doha. - (Photo by Karim JAAFAR / AFP)KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images
South Africa’s Caster Semenya competes in the women’s 800m during the IAAF Diamond League competition in Doha. – (Photo by Karim JAAFAR / AFP)KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Semenya’s lawyer, Dorothee Schramm, argued that “The IAAF regulations violate the most fundamental principles of Swiss public policy,” adding, “In the race for justice, human rights must win over sporting interests.”

Semenya’s appeal follows the CAS May 2019 ruling, in favour of the new IAAF policy which requires women athletes with specific differences in sex development to medically reduce their natural blood testosterone.

Despite, the CAS acknowledging that the policy is discriminatory, the body insisted that it is still “necessary, reasonable, and proportionate” to ensure fairness in the sport. – A policy which has been condemned by human rights groups, the World Medical Association, and the United Nations Human Rights Council.

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