The time has come – Caster Semenya will know what her future holds in athletics on Wednesday.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Monday that they will announce their decision on Semenya and Athletics South Africa’s case against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Wednesday at 12pm Swiss time in Lausanne (12pm SA time).
Following a hearing that lasted five days in the Swiss city in February, the decision was initially set to be made on 26 March.
But CAS announced that they will delay the outcome until the end of April, as they had received additional information from both Semenya’s camp and the IAAF.
Athletics South Africa were scathing about the longer wait, saying in a statement that the delay “is entirely due to the IAAF seeking to amend the regulations post the CAS hearing”.
Semenya is appealing against the IAAF’s proposed regulations to force female athletes – who compete in events from the 400m to the mile – and who naturally produce high levels of testosterone to take medication to lower those levels.
The decision could have a huge impact on the IAAF World Championships, which begin in Doha on September 28.
Semenya’s best events are the 800m and 1 500m, in which she claimed gold medals at last year’s Commonwealth Games.
But she is also capable of pushing for the title in the 400m and 5 000m, having taken first spot in the 4x400m relay and 5 000m – as well as the 1 500m – at the past weekend’s South African championships in Germiston.
In late March, Semenya released a statement via her legal team at Norton Rose Fulbright, in which she hit back at comments by IAAF president Sebastian Coe, in which he called the 800m star “the muscle-packed Semenya”.
“The scars Ms Semenya has developed over the past decade run deep. She has endured and forged herself into a symbol of strength, hope and courage.
A TEAM 💣 pic.twitter.com/f49YM7dI4h— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) April 28, 2019
“Reading the comments of Mr. Coe this weekend opened those old wounds and the reference by the Daily Telegraph (Australia) to ‘the muscle-packed Semenya’ is just the latest illustration of how the issues have been distorted by innuendo,” the statement read.
“Ms Semenya is a woman. There is no debate or question about this and the IAAF does not dispute this. She was born a woman, raised a woman, socialized as a woman and has competed as a woman her entire life.
“Mr. Coe may have views about transgender women in sport, but that is a different issue.
“Ms. Semenya has challenged the regulation that affects women athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) and forces them to undergo invasive medical intervention to be able to participate in women’s sport.
“Ms Semenya does not wish to undergo medical intervention to change who she is and how she was born. She wants to compete naturally.
“Women with DSDs are born with rare genetic differences. These differences should be celebrated in sports. like all other genetic variations that make elite events worth watching.
“Mr. Coe is wrong to think Ms Semenya is a threat to women’s sport. Ms Semenya is a heroine and inspirational role model for young girls around the world, who dream of achieving excellence in sport.
“Ms Semenya hopes and dreams that one day she can run free of judgment, free of discrimination and in a world where she is accepted for who she is.”