Caster Semenya has won an appeal against track and field’s testosterone rules

Double The Olympic Games a champion runner Caster Semenya appealed against track and field’s testosterone rules on Tuesday night AEST when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that they were discriminatory and there were “serious questions” about the legality of the rules.

World Athletics, which enforces the rules, said in light of the decision that its rules would remain in place, however, meaning there would be no return to top competition for the South African athlete.

Semenya’s case in the court of freedom was against the Swiss government, not World Athletics itself, although the decision is still a big moment to question the future of the law.

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Semenya was identified as female at birth and has identified as a woman throughout her life, but rules passed by the track’s governing body in 2019 forced her to suppress her natural testosterone in order to be allowed to compete in women’s races.

World Athletics says she has one of the conditions known as the sex difference in growth, which results in an increase in testosterone in the male and which gives her an unfair advantage in women’s competitions.

Semenya has been challenging the testosterone laws in court for years, but had already lost an appeal at the highest sports court in 2019 and a second case against the rules at the Swiss Supreme Court in 2020. The Swiss government responded to the case at the Court of Human Rights. in Europe.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled in Semenya’s favor by a 4-3 majority on the discrimination complaint and found that she had been denied “effective means” of addressing the discrimination through two previous cases she had lost at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. and a Swiss court.

Tuesday’s decision was in many ways a rejection of the 2019 decision by the CAS. The stadium maintained rules that required Semenya and others with so-called sexual development differences, or DSDs, to take birth control pills, or undergo hormone injections, or undergo surgery to be allowed to compete in high-level competitions. such as the Olympic Games and international competitions.

These rules were established for other events but were expanded and made stricter by World Athletics this year. Athletes like Semenya are forced to lower their testosterone levels if they want to compete in any sport.

The Swiss-based CAS ruling that rejected Semenya’s first appeal did not properly take into account important factors such as the side effects of hormonal drugs, the difficulties of athletes to comply with the rules, and the lack of evidence that their environment is too high. testosterone gave them a chance, the European Court of Human Rights said.

The unfair advantage is the main reason why World Athletics introduced the rules.

The European Court of Human Rights also found that Semenya had made a second constitutional appeal to the Swiss Supreme Court to “review the law in detail, but this did not happen when the court re-sentenced Semenya.

The Swiss government was ordered to pay Semenya 60,000 euros ($99,000) in accordance with the amount requested by the European Court of Human Rights.

In the end, the rules excluded Semenya from 2019 because she refused to suppress her natural body to run, and the European Court of Human Rights found that Semenya was “at a serious risk” as the rules interfered with her work and affected her “work”.

Tuesday’s decision could force CAS and ultimately World Athletics to review the rules, although the process and timing of bringing about the reinstatement of the rules is unclear.

In a statement, World Athletics said: “We still consider that the DSD rules are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate way to protect female competition as both the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Swiss Federal Tribunal found. A detailed and professional examination of the evidence.”

Semenya, who is 32, wants to compete in next year’s Olympics in Paris. He was the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion in the 800 meters but did not defend his title at the Tokyo Olympics due to regulations.

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