Caster Semenya celebrates after winning the Doha Diamond League women's 1500m in 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Al Omari

JOHANNESBURG – Caster Semenya has hit back at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and vowed to continue her fight after losing her challenge to the global athletics body’s female eligibility rules.

She is allowed to appeal within 30 days, and has said she will.

The two-time Olympic champion accused the IAAF of driving a decade-long vendetta against her.

“I know that the IAAF’s regulations have always targeted me specifically,” Semenya said. “For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger.”

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in favour of the IAAF despite accepting the disorder of sexual differentiation (DSD) regulations were discriminatory yesterday.

“The decision of the CAS will not hold me back.

“I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world.”

Semenya received strong support from South Africa Sports and Recreation Minister Tokozile Xasa, who said: “Naturally, we are disappointed with the judgment.

“We will study the judgment, consider it and determine a way forward. As the South African government, we have always maintained that these regulations trample on the human rights and dignity of Semenya and other women athletes.”

Semenya will have to take hormone-suppressing drugs if she wants to compete in her preferred 800m event.

The CAS panel consisting of three arbitrators found that although the rules were discriminatory towards DSD athletes, they were “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” to preserve the integrity of female athletics.

“By majority, the CAS panel has dismissed the requests for arbitration considering that the claimants were unable to establish that the DSD regulations were ‘invalid’,” the panel said.

The CAS ruled in favour of the IAAF despite expressing “some serious concerns as to the future practical application of these DSD regulations”.

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Semenya’s legal firm, Norton Rose Fulbright said: “Semenya shares the view of the dissenting CAS arbitrator that the DSD regulations are unnecessary.

“Women with differences in sexual development have genetic variations that are conceptually no different than other genetic variations that are celebrated in the sport.

“The IAAF’s basis for discriminating against these women is their natural genetic variations.”


The Star

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