Caster Semenya says court allows her to compete while appealing

Caster Semenya
AP
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A spokesperson for Caster Semenya said that a Swiss court ordered the IAAF to allow to her to compete in her best events while her appeal against a new rule is pending.

The IAAF said it has not received information from the court and thus declined comment.

“I am thankful to the Swiss judges for this decision,” Semenya said in a statement through the same spokesperson who announced her appeal to the Federal Court of Switzerland last week. “I hope that following my appeal I will once again be able to run free.”

French and South African media reports quoted a Swiss court spokesman confirming the suspension of the new rule until a hearing takes place and one of Semenya’s lawyers saying the IAAF has until June 25 to respond.

The court said it has “super-provisionally instructed” the IAAF to suspend the rule and, “at present, it is not known when the Swiss Federal Supreme Courts will issue an interlocutory order concerning these provisional measures,” according to the BBC.

On May 1, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld an IAAF rule that puts a cap on athlete testosterone levels in women’s events from the 400m through the mile. Semenya had appealed to CAS hoping it would rescind the new IAAF rule.

Semenya, a two-time Olympic 800m champion, said later that week that she would not take testosterone-reducing medication to stay eligible for this fall’s world championships in the 800m. Semenya is entered in a 2000m and a 3000m, events outside the new rule, in meets later this month.

Semenya’s new appeal to the Swiss court focused on fundamental human rights. 

“The court will be asked to consider whether the IAAF’s requirements for compulsory drug interventions violate essential and widely recognized public policy values, including the prohibition against discrimination, the right to physical integrity, the right to economic freedom, and respect for human dignity,” according to Semenya’s press release. “The CAS decision condones the IAAF’s requirements for unnecessary and unwanted hormonal drug interventions on female athletes despite the lack of any medical protocols and the uncertain health consequences of such interventions.”

South Africa’s track and field federation previously indicated it would appeal the CAS ruling.

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