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Tokyo Olympics: Semenya heads to European Court of Human Rights

Semenya back in court


Double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya has filed an application to the European Court of Human Rights in a final bid to save her career and overturn the ban on her defending her title at Tokyo.

Semenya, 30, has twice failed to overturn controversial World Athletics regulations requiring women with high testosterone to take medication to compete internationally between 400m and a mile.

On social media on Thursday she confirmed she would try for a third time.

“I hope the European court will put an end to the long-standing human rights violations by World Athletics against women athletes. All we ask is to be allowed to run free, for once and for all, as the strong and fearless women we are and have always been.”

Training and waiting

The South African was almost unstoppable until World Athletics implemented a new policy for athletes with differences in sex development (DSD) that compelled them to reduce their testosterone levels to less than 5 nmol/L if they wanted to compete in elite events between 400m and a mile.

It argued the policy was justified because more than 99 per cent of females have around 0.12-1.79 nmol/L of testosterone in their bodies. DSDs are in the male range of 7.7-29.4 nmol/L.

In 2019, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld that policy, saying it was fair because DSD athletes, including Semenya, had a significant advantage in size, strength and power from puberty onwards because of their elevated testosterone levels.

Read AlsoLegal tussle: Semenya not done yet heads to ECHR

A subsequent appeal failed and last November a Swiss federal tribunal said the World Athletics policy was “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” to ensure fair competition in women’s sport. “Based on these findings, the CAS decision cannot be challenged,” the tribunal said.




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