Court denies IAAF's request to re-impose regulations on Semenya

Caster Semenya (Getty Images)
Caster Semenya (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland has rejected the IAAF’s urgent request to be allowed to immediately re-impose its eligibility regulations on Caster Semenya.

In an order issued on June 12, the Swiss Supreme Court upheld its prior order issued by the Court on May 31 in favour of Semenya. The Supreme Court’s prior order requires the IAAF to immediately suspend the implementation of its eligibility regulations against Semenya in light of the athlete’s pending appeal.

After considering the IAAF’s arguments, the Court has now determined in a second order that the IAAF’s request failed to set out any reason or change in circumstance that would justify a reconsideration of the prior order.

This means that Semenya remains permitted to compete without restriction in the female category at this time.

The IAAF and Athletics South Africa have until June 25 to make submissions to the Supreme Court on Semenya's request that the IAAF regulations be suspended throughout the entire appeal proceedings.

Until the Supreme Court decides on this request, the IAAF regulations remain suspended against Semenya.

Semenya expressed concern that the IAAF is unwilling to voluntarily suspend the regulations against all women athletes: “No woman should be subjected to these rules. I thought hard about not running the 800m in solidarity unless all women can run free. But I will run now to show the IAAF that they cannot drug us,” she said.

The world and Olympic champion was frustrated that she has been prevented from competing in the 800 metres at the upcoming IAAF Diamond League Meeting in Rabat on June 16, in an apparent violation of the Swiss Supreme Court’s order.

She was notified on June 11 that the President of the Moroccan Athletics Federation has denied her participation in the 800m in Rabat. Caster is currently seeking clarity on the specific reasons for that decision, and she urges the IAAF to ensure its member federations comply with the law and the Supreme Court's orders of May 31 and June 12.

In light of the real risk that Semenya will be unjustifiably prevented from competing in the 800m, she has been forced to compete in longer distance races but remains focused on defending her Diamond League title in the 800m and has sought entry in that event at the Prefontaine Classic in California on June 30.

Semenya has challenged the IAAF's statement that it is committed to the full participation of women in sport and that it respects each individual’s personal dignity. “I am a woman, but the IAAF has again tried to stop me from running the way I was born,” she said.

“The IAAF questions my sex, causes me great pain and required me to take hormonal drugs that made me feel constantly sick and unable to focus for many years. No other woman should be forced to go through this in order to have the same right that all women have - to do what we love and run the way we were born.”

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