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European Rights Court Set to Make Final Decision on Semenya



Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya’s legal battle reaches its climax as the ECHR* commences a hearing to decide if she should lower her testosterone levels to compete. Jacaranda FM reports that in July 2023, the ECHR ruled she faced discrimination by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) due to her “differences in sexual development (DSD).” Semenya, a double Olympic champion, refused testosterone reduction drugs since World Athletics’ 2018 rules. Despite her ECHR win, it didn’t reverse World Athletics’ decision or allow her to compete medication-free. Now, Swiss authorities, backed by World Athletics, appeal to the ECHR’s Grand Chamber, with a binding ruling expected later.

Also read: Caster Semenya’s Landmark Victory for Equality in Athletics

Semenya, a three-time Olympic and multiple world gold medalist faces exclusion from her preferred 800m event, prompting a failed transition to 5,000m. She’s preparing to argue her case in Strasbourg, hopeful of a favourable outcome. The legal saga, financially taxing and sidelining her since March 2023, accrued costs exceeding 30 million rand ($1.5 million). Semenya, focusing on advocacy after her competitive career, emphasises protecting young athletes facing similar challenges. She criticises World Athletics’ testosterone regulations, now stricter at 2.5 nanomoles per litre, down from five, with no restrictions on event participation if levels comply.

The legal dispute, spanning years, underscores the complexities of sports regulation and human rights. Semenya’s stance resonates beyond athletics, challenging norms of gender and fairness in sports. Her case prompts reflection on how sports organisations balance competitive integrity with inclusivity and respect for individual rights. As Semenya awaits the ECHR’s final verdict, her journey symbolises a broader struggle for equality and recognition in sports, inspiring conversations on fairness and diversity.

*European Court of Human Rights


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