JOHANNESBURG – Athletics SA (ASA) has approached the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) in Switzerland to have the IAAF’s new female eligibility rules suspended.
The South African athletics federation said on Saturday it had lodged a statement of appeal with CAS.
“Caster Semenya, one of the affected athletes, has decided to similarly challenge these regulations and has appointed her own legal and medical team,” ASA said. “ASA supports her application, and has instructed its legal and medical teams to continue supporting the endeavours of her legal and medical teams, respectively.”
The IAAF introduced a new policy in April attempting to regulate women who naturally produce testosterone levels above five nanomoles per litre of blood.
For now, the regulations are limited to athletes who compete in events ranging from 400m to the mile.
The global athletics governing body’s amended regulations would go into effect in November and would require female athletes to maintain testosterone levels to below five nanomoles per litre for a continuous period of at least six months.
ASA’s challenge is led by a legal and medical team supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation and the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.
The SA athletics body said the regulations “discriminate impermissibly against certain female athletes on the basis of natural physical characteristics or sex”.
ASA said the IAAF had, through its lawyers, indicated that it would proceed with the implementation of the rules.
Semenya’s lawyers released a statement last week saying their client would challenge the IAAF’s rules “to ensure, safeguard and protect the rights of all women”. ASA said it had “engaged” the IAAF directly since May10 declaring its intention to oppose the implementation of the regulations.
“ASA has also attempted to reach out to the IAAF and requested a meeting with their executive to discuss the regulations.
“As a consequence, the president of ASA, Aleck Skhosana, and the president of IAAF, Lord Sebastian Coe, have a scheduled meeting in the coming week.”