Semenya remains free to compete without restriction

By Sports Desk June 13, 2019

Caster Semenya remains free to compete without restriction after the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland (SFT) rejected an IAAF request to reimpose a new ruling limiting testosterone in female athletes.

The IAAF last week stated its intention to seek a "swift reversion" of the court order to allow Semenya to race in any event until the SFT comes to a decision over her case.

Two-time Olympic 800 metres champion Semenya is challenging the IAAF's decision to introduce restrictions on testosterone levels in female athletes competing at distances ranging from 400m to a mile.

Athletics' governing body was initially ordered to suspend its implementation of the regulations by the SFT earlier this month and that decision has now been upheld. 

Semenya may need to take hormone-suppressing medication, which she argues contravenes her human rights, if she loses her appeal and wishes to stay in athletics.

The 28-year-old on Tuesday stepped up to compete over 2,000m, dominating the field to triumph at the Meeting de Montreuil.

That victory came a day after she was selected in South Africa's preliminary squad for the IAAF World Championships in Doha.

Semenya's team said she was this week informed by the president of the Moroccan Athletics Federation that she would not be invited to compete in the 800m at the Diamond League meeting in Rabat on Sunday.

The three-time 800m world champion has sought to enter the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting on June 30.

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    Justin Gatlin believes American sprinters are ready to prove themselves as the fastest men in the world after Usain Bolt's retirement.

    With Jamaican showman Bolt now off the scene, the 100 metres and 200m risk losing some of their lustre, but Gatlin sees an emerging generation of track stars jostling to take over at the top.

    Americans account for four of the five fastest times over 100m this season and three of the four quickest in the 200m.

    Christian Coleman, 23, owns the season-leading best time of 9.81 seconds in the shorter sprint, with fellow Americans Noah Lyles and Gatlin also dipping under 9.90secs.

    The little-known Cravon Gillespie clocked 9.93 in Austin last month for a personal best too.

    Doha will stage the IAAF World Championships later this year, and 37-year-old Gatlin will bid to defend his 100m title on the evening of September 28.

    Asked whether USA can be the dominant sprinting nation, after years of Jamaican success, Gatlin told Omnisport: "I think so. It just takes a lot of the youth and the young athletes coming up and looking at what we have done in the past and having pride.

    "[It's about] wanting that success and training themselves very hard to make Olympic teams, World Championship teams ... and I think it's on the rise from both sides, both the men and the women."

    Bolt's last individual 100m race came at the 2017 World Championships in London, when the eight-time Olympic gold medallist could only finish third as Gatlin took the glory.

    It was an unpopular victory for many, not least because Gatlin has served two doping bans, but Bolt notably jumped to his defence.

    The post-Bolt era has yet to see any athlete threaten his world record of 9.58secs in the 100m, but Gatlin suspects a heightened competition for medals should again make the race unmissable in Qatar.

    Assessing likely rivals, Gatlin said: "If we're looking at it right now, obviously potentially Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles, a lot of other young runners. I always give respect to the other runners that are going to be out there because a star is born at any moment.

    "Anybody has an opportunity to put together a great race, and it might be their moment in 2019 in Doha to have the best race of their life.

    "Guys are still running elite times. It's about the direction they're coming from. Usually you have one guy you can focus on, which was Usain, who was running fast times and you could focus on that.

    "But now you've got Noah Lyles, Christian Coleman, anybody that's running fast times. So you always have to stay on guard and be ready for whoever's going to run fast and you have to be ready to run faster."

  • Semenya storms to Stanford victory in record time Semenya storms to Stanford victory in record time

    Caster Semenya stormed to a record-breaking Diamond League victory in Stanford with her future still up in the air.

    Semenya clocked the fastest 800 metres time by a woman on American soil of one minute, 55.70 seconds on Sunday.

    The South African was competing in the Diamond League for the first time since being cleared to run by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland (SFT), as she awaits the outcome of an appeal in her case against the IAAF.

    The double Olympic 800m champion is challenging the IAAF's decision to introduce restrictions on testosterone levels in women competing at distances ranging from 400m to a mile.

    Semenya appealed to the SFT after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that the IAAF could implement the regulations.

    The 28-year-old did not run in the last Diamond League event in Rabat, although she denied declining an offer to race after initially being denied entry before the SFT declared she is free to run without restriction until a verdict is reached.

    Semenya took the bell in 57 seconds and powered away from the pack for a dominant victory ahead of Ajee Wilson, with Raevyn Rogers third.

  • Semenya criticises IAAF testing following release of CAS award Semenya criticises IAAF testing following release of CAS award

    Caster Semenya has criticised the IAAF for using her as a "human guinea pig" after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) published its arbitral award following her case.

    CAS ruled that the IAAF could implement a regulation that would require Semenya to take medication to lower her testosterone levels in order to compete against women in track events ranging from 400 metres to a mile.

    The two-time Olympic 800m champion is awaiting the outcome of an appeal to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland to overturn the ruling.

    Yet the release of a redacted 163-page CAS award on Tuesday saw Semenya and her legal team provide a further scathing response.

    "The IAAF used me in the past as a human guinea pig to experiment with how the medication they required me to take would affect my testosterone levels," she said in a statement.

    "Even though the hormonal drugs made me feel constantly sick, the IAAF now wants to enforce even stricter thresholds with unknown health consequences.

    "I will not allow the IAAF to use me and my body again. But I am concerned that other female athletes will feel compelled to let the IAAF drug them and test the effectiveness and negative health effects of different hormonal drugs. This cannot be allowed to happen."

    The statement from Semenya's team highlighted the "extremely thin basis" of the regulations they felt were evident in the award, while criticising the IAAF's subsequent actions.

    Semenya's team claimed "concerns and suggestions" from CAS regarding the scope of the regulations were ignored, while suggesting an IAAF statement regarding "chosen legal sex and/or gender identity" was "an insult to women like Caster who were born as women and have always been women".

    "The IAAF's reactions after the award confirm that it does not deserve the trust that the majority of the CAS placed in it," Semenya's team said.

    Meanwhile, the IAAF welcomed the publication of the CAS award, hoping it would "foster greater understanding" of the situation.

    A statement read: "Having the arguments of all parties and the detailed findings of the CAS panel in the public domain will help to foster greater understanding of this complex issue and to demonstrate the balance it is necessary to draw between the right for any individual to choose their legal sex and/or gender identity, which the IAAF fully supports and respects, and the need for sport to create and defend a protected category for females, with eligibility for this category based on biology and not on legal sex or gender identity.

    "Sport is one of only a few, narrow sectors of society in which biology has to trump gender identity to ensure fairness.

    "To define the female category based on something other than biology would be category defeating and would deter many girls around the world from choosing competitive and elite sport after puberty.

    "The IAAF considers that the DSD [differences of sex development] regulations are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of protecting fair and meaningful competition in elite female athletics, and the CAS agreed."

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