JOHANNESBURG – Caster Semenya has clarified reports that the government will be spending R25 million defending her case against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“While I have no knowledge of what was paid by the government to its legal and medical team in respect of its own case, my personal representation has been funded mainly by private funders and the portion funded by the government is a small fraction of the amount that has been quoted in the article,” Semenya said in a statement yesterday.
Earlier reports claimed that the government would spend millions on expert witnesses in support of Semenya’s challenge to the athletics governing body’s proposed female eligibility rules.
Thursday’s statement from her lawyers, Norton Rose Fulbright, also distanced Semenya from an unsanctioned petition for donations.
“It has also come to my attention that there is a petition that has been started by an organisation in support of Caster Semenya, which requests, as part of a sign-up, a donation of money. I have no knowledge of and no affiliation to this petition and it has not been sanctioned by me.
I will not be receiving any of these funds and donors are advised accordingly. I am grateful for all the local and global support I have received,” said Semenya.
The Department of Sport and Recreation, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and Athletics SA (ASA) did not represent Semenya during the hearing before the CAS this week.
ASA said it had assembled a team of experts “on behalf of all affected female athletes worldwide” as it believed the regulations predominantly targeted Africans.
The IAAF’s challenged regulations will require women with naturally elevated levels of testosterone to lower it to below five nanomoles per litre for at least six months.
This will only affect athletes that compete in the distances between 400m and the mile, which are the events Semenya excels in on the global stage.
The hearing will enter its fifth day today, with the CAS expected to make its findings public towards the end of next month.@ockertde