Semenya faces 'important day' at European rights court

Semenya faces 'important day' at European rights court

Caster Semenya said Wednesday's hearing at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) into whether the double Olympic champion can be required to lower her testosterone levels to compete was an "important day" as her costly legal marathon entered its last lap.

Caster Semenya at European Court of Human Rights

The 33-year-old runner won an earlier round at the ECHR, which last July ruled she was the victim of discrimination from the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"This is an important day in my journey as a human being and athlete. It has been a long time coming," said Semenya, who was the Olympic 800m champion in 2012 and 2016 and world gold medallist in 2009, 2011 and 2017.

"In 2009 I stood atop the podium at the Berlin world championships having just been sex tested and knowing that the world was judging my body and questioning my sex. In the 15 years since then I have persevered with dignity in the face of oppression.

"The adversity I have overcome has helped shaped me into a true champion and a compassionate mother, wife, sister, and daughter.

"I hope that the Court's decision will pave the way for all athletes' human rights to be fiercely protected, for once and for all, and inspire all young women to be and accept themselves in all their diversity."

Semenya, 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 track and field's governing body World Athletics introduced its original rules in 2018.

CAS ruled against her in 2019 and the decision was validated by the Swiss Federal Court in Lausanne in 2020. It declared "fair competition" a "cardinal principle of sport" and said that a testosterone level comparable to that of men gave female athletes "an insurmountable advantage".


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