The 29-year-old Semenya is taking her battle to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, hoping to overturn the hormone drug rule.
You have to give it to South African 800m Olympic champion Caster Semenya. Despite setbacks at almost every corner, she just refuses to give up.
In 2018, the World Athletics governing body announced Semenya and others were banned from races between 400m and a mile unless they take testosterone-reducing drugs. They say any athlete with differences of sexual development (DSD) falls into this category. Semenya has elevated testosterone levels due to DSD.
Fighting claims that she has an unfair advantage over her competitors almost from the day she announced herself on the world stage, she has lost appeals in the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Swiss Supreme Court. Her career is at a crossroads.
Now, 29-year-old Semenya is taking her battle to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, hoping to overturn the hormone drug rule. It will probably be her last-ditch legal challenge against these regulations.
Semenya, who won gold medals at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, refuses to take the drugs. She has not run her favoured 800m race and has been focusing on the 200m, but it is not evident she will qualify for the Olympics Games in Japan next year over that distance as she has to run a qualifying time of 22.80sec.
Semenya’s lawyer, Gregory Nott, said: “We remain hopeful that World Athletics will see the error it has made and reverse the prohibitive rules which restrict Ms Semenya from competing. We remain inspired by Ms Semenya’s indomitable spirit and will remain steadfast in our stand against discrimination until she is allowed to run free from persecution.”
The big concern is that it looks unlikely that there will be a decision from the European Court of Human Rights before next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
While there are those who agree with the governing body’s ruling, there are many people behind Semenya. Caster, we are holding thumbs for you.
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