Caster Semenya and Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, seen here after the 2 000m race in Paris this week, are both affected by the IAAF regulations. Photo: Reuters

Caster Semenya is fighting hard to run in the 800m again after the highest court in Switzerland rejected the latest attempt by the IAAF to impose their female eligibility regulations on the Olympic champion.

In a press release from her legal team, Semenya revealed that her participation in her favourite 800m event at the Diamond League meeting in Rabat, Morocco on 16 June has been denied by the president of the Moroccan Athletics Federation.

This is in direct contravention of the order by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, which ruled on 31 May that the IAAF’s regulations be suspended while Semenya appeals the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled in favour of the athletics governing body.

The IAAF has since gone back to the Swiss Supreme Court and made an urgent request to “immediately re-impose its eligibility regulations” on Semenya and other athletes with differences in sexual development, who have higher testosterone levels than those permitted by the IAAF.

But on Wednesday 12 June, the Swiss court rejected the IAAF’s request, which means that Semenya and other affected athletes such as Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui can run in any event they wish, including the distances in question – 400m to the mile.

With that victory gained, Semenya is now battling the authorities on another issue. In her statement on Thursday evening, she said that she wanted to take part in the 800m again, despite initially having second thoughts.

“No woman should be subjected to these rules. I thought hard about not running the 800m in solidarity, unless all women can run free. But I will run now to show the IAAF that they cannot drug us,” she said.

Having won a 2 000m event in Paris on Tuesday, Semenya wants to take part in the 800m Diamond League race in Rabat on 16 June – Youth Day in South Africa.

But she said that she was told on Tuesday this week that the president of the Moroccan Athletics Federation has denied her an entry to the event.

“Caster is currently seeking clarity on the specific reasons for that decision, and she urges the IAAF to ensure its member federations comply with the law and the Supreme Court’s orders of May 31 and June 12,” her legal team said.

Semenya is now also trying to enter the 800m event at the Prefontaine Classic in California on 30 June – also a Diamond League meeting – where she initially was going to line up in the 3 000m.

“I am a woman, but the IAAF has again tried to stop me from running the way I was born,” she said.

“The IAAF questions my sex, causes me great pain and required me to take hormonal drugs that made me feel constantly sick and unable to focus for many years.

“No other woman should be forced to go through this in order to have the same right that all women have – to do what we love and run the way we were born.”

@ashfakmohamed


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