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Court Says Olympic Champion Semenya Can Appeal Testosterone Limit For Female Athletes

The top human rights court in Europe ruled in Caster Semenya’s favour on Tuesday, saying Swiss courts should give her another chance to challenge the law requiring female athletes with high natural testosterone levels to take medicines to decrease it.

The 32-year-old double Olympic 800m champion from South Africa addressed the European Court of Human Rights in February 2021 after losing appeals to both the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the top court in sports.

By a slim margin of four votes to three, the ECHR determined that Semenya’s initial appeal against World Athletics rules had not been properly heard.

In a statement, the ECHR said, “The Court found in particular that the applicant had not been afforded sufficient institutional and procedural safeguards in Switzerland to allow her to have her complaints examined effectively.

“The high stakes of the case for the applicant and the narrow margin of appreciation afforded to the respondent State should have led to a thorough Institutional and procedural review, but the applicant had not been able to obtain such a review.”

Semenya can now, once again, dispute the laws that have put her career on hold. She suffers from hyperandrogenism, a medical disease marked by elevated testosterone levels, which is a hormone that increases muscular growth, strength, and hemoglobin, which has an impact on endurance.

According to the regulations, athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) that cause high testosterone levels must decrease them to those of “a healthy woman with ovaries” in order to compete in women’s events. They might have monthly injections, take the pill, or have the testes surgically removed.

According to World Athletics, it will continue to abide by its guidelines for the time being. They said, “We remain of the view that the DSD regulations are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of protecting fair competition in the female category as the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Swiss Federal Tribunal both found, after a detailed and expert assessment of the evidence.”

The regulations of the international governing body were mandated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2019 in order to ensure equitable female competition. World Athletics had constantly said that the rules are intended to equal the playing field for all participants.

However, Semenya, at the time, said that the regulations were discriminatory, and the contraceptive pills she had to take made her feel “constantly sick”. The following year, she tried to have the 2019 CAS decision overturned but lost her appeal to the SFT.

Semenya, a three-time world champion in the 800 meters, took home gold in the women’s race at the 2016 Olympics. The rules, which were previously only applicable to events lasting 400 meters to a mile, were amended to cover all female track events in March, prohibiting Caster Semenya from reigniting her career by competing over longer distances.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

The post Court Says Olympic Champion Semenya Can Appeal Testosterone Limit For Female Athletes appeared first on Arise News.



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