IAAF to seek swift reversion of Swiss court’s Semenya ruling


FILE PHOTO: Athletics - Diamond League - Doha - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - ...
FILE PHOTO: Athletics - Diamond League - Doha - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - May 3, 2019 South Africa's Caster Semenya before the women's 800m REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari/File Photo

In Summary

  • The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said it will seek a swift reversion of Monday’s Swiss court ruling in favour of double Olympic champion Caster Semenya
  • Semenya has appealed a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision that supported the IAAF’s rule that XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs), like Semenya, can only race in distances from 400m to a mile if they take medication to lower their testosterone levels

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said it will seek a swift reversion of Monday’s Swiss court ruling in favour of double Olympic champion Caster Semenya.

Semenya has appealed a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision that supported the IAAF’s rule that XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs), like Semenya, can only race in distances from 400m to a mile if they take medication to lower their testosterone levels.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) ruled Semenya will be able to run in her favoured 800 metres event without taking medication until her appeal has been ruled on.

In response to that decision the IAAF said in a statement that it would seek a “swift reversion of the superprovisional order… to avoid serious confusion amongst athletes and event organisers and to protect the integrity of the sport.”

It added that the suspension of regulations applied only to Semenya and will be in effect until June 25.

“The SFT’s decision was “ex parte”, meaning that it was requested and issued without the IAAF’s knowledge,” athletics’ governing body said.

“The IAAF did not receive appellant’s filings or the order until today so has not had the chance to explain why the DSD Regulations should remain in force and applicable to all affected athletes while the appeal is pending.”

Reuters has contacted Semenya’s representatives for comment.

In defence of its rules, the IAAF said it was committed to the full participation of women in athletics and would continue to fight for equal rights and opportunities for all women.

“The IAAF fully respects each individual’s personal dignity and supports the social movement to have people accepted in society based on their chosen legal sex and/or gender identity,” the IAAF statement added.

“However, the IAAF is convinced there are some contexts, sport being one of them, where biology has to trump identity.

“The IAAF also believes the right to participate in sport does not translate to a right to self-identify into a competition category or an event.”

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