European human rights court to rule on Semenya ban

todayNovember 7, 2023 39

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The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has agreed to rule on the case of double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya, who has been barred from competing in her preferred 800m race over her refusal to take medication to lower her testosterone levels.

Semenya won a long legal battle in July against Switzerland at the Strasbourg-based international court, which ruled she was the victim of discrimination.

However, Swiss authorities, supported by World Athletics, had announced their intention to take the matter to the ECHR’s Grand Chamber, whose rulings are binding.

The 32-year old athlete, who is classed as having “differences in sexual development (DSD)” but has always been legally identified as female, has refused to take drugs to reduce her testosterone levels since athletics’ governing body introduced the rules in 2018.

In the long-running legal battle, Semenya lost an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and three years ago Switzerland’s Supreme Court confirmed the decision of sport’s top court.

Semenya then took her case against Switzerland to the ECHR. Article by Ntsako Mkhari

Written by: Lindiwe Mabena

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