Dubai: The lawyer for Caster Semenya has revealed he is preparing to challenge rules that prevent the double Olympic 800 metres champion from competing over certain distances at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Semenya and other athletes with naturally high levels of testosterone are banned from racing in women’s events ranging from 400 metres to a mile unless they take medication.
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The 29-year-old has twice unsuccessfully appealed the rules implemented by World Athletics, which forces athletes with differences in sexual development to take drugs to reduce their naturally-occurring testosterone if they want to compete over the distances.
Semenya lost her appeal against the regulations at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) at the Swiss Supreme Court, but lawyer Gregory Nott has raised the possibility of contesting the rules at the ECHR.
Nott was quoted that Semenya’s legal team is preparing the paperwork for a case at the ECHR, a process which he said could take “a few more months”.
He said Semenya would have the final say on any further appeal, adding her legal team is “merely the horse and she is the jockey, so we listen to what Caster has to say”.
“She has a mind of her own,” Nott said. The lawyer admitted her loss at the Swiss Federal Tribunal — which only intervenes based on potential procedural issues and on human rights and does not make a judgement on the CAS interpretation of the law — “didn’t come as a complete surprise” as he vowed Semenya would continue “fighting” regulations laid down by the world governing body.
The Swiss court ruling dealt a further blow to the 29-year-old South African runner, who will be unable to defend her Olympic crown at the postponed Tokyo 2020 unless she takes medication, as things stand.
World Athletics, known as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) when the controversial rules were introduced, has insisted the rules are in place “to protect women’s sport”.