Caster Semenya
AP

Caster Semenya says court allows her to compete while appealing

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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.

VIDEO: Noah Lyles edges Christian Coleman in photo finish

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World Cup Alpine season opener gets green light

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After checking the snow on the Rettenbach glacier in Soelden, Austria, FIS officials announced Thursday that the traditional World Cup season opener is set to go ahead as planned Oct. 26-27 with men’s and women’s giant slalom races.

Current conditions at Soelden show a solid 30 inches of snow at the summit. The race finishes at an altitude of 2,670 meters (8,760 feet), far above the currently snowless village.

The first races of the season are never guaranteed to have enough snow, though last year’s men’s race at Soelden had the opposite problem, being canceled when a storm blew through with heavy snowfall and high winds. 

France’s Tessa Worley won the women’s race last year ahead of Italy’s Frederica Brignone and U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who would go on to dominate the rest of the World Cup season.

The Soelden weekend is followed by three dormant weeks until the season resumes Nov. 23-24 in Levi, Finland. The World Cup circuits then switch to North America. The men will run speed events Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Lake Louise, Alberta, then head to Beaver Creek, Colo., for more speed events and a giant slalom Dec. 6-8. The women run slalom and giant slalom Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Killington, Vt., and head to Lake Louise the next weekend.

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Olympic marathon and race walk move from Tokyo to Sapporo draws some pushback

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In the wake of a dropout-plagued set of world championship endurance races in Qatar, moving the 2020 Olympic marathons and race walks from Tokyo to the cooler venue of Sapporo is a quick fix for one problem, pending the potential for untimely heat waves.

But the move has drawn some opposition for a variety of reasons.

First, many organizers and politicians appear to have been caught by surprise. Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, was “taken aback” and Sapporo’s mayor, Katsuhiro Akimoto, learned about the move from the media, Kyodo News reported. Koike even sarcastically suggested that the races could move all the way northward to islands disputed by Russia and Japan.

South African sports scientist Ross Tucker suggested that running in heat and humidity poses an interesting challenge for athletes, some of whom may be able to catch up with faster runners by preparing for the conditions.

British marathoner Mara Yamauchi made a similar point, saying the move was unfair to those who already were preparing for the heat, humidity and other conditions.

Belgian marathoner Koen Naert said he will make the best of the change but complained that some of his preparation and every runner’s logistical planning would no longer apply.

The angriest athlete may be Canadian walker Evan Dunfee, who placed fourth in the 2016 Olympic 50km race and nearly claimed bronze as a Canadian appeal was upheld but then rejected. He says runners and walkers can beat the conditions if they prepare, which many athletes did not do for the world championships in Qatar.

“So why do we cater to the ill prepared?” Dunfee asked on Twitter.

The move also takes athletes out of the main Olympic city and takes away the traditional, tough less frequent in modern years, finish in the Olympic stadium.

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