Caster Semenya files appeal over testosterone ruling | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 29.05.2019
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Caster Semenya files appeal over testosterone ruling

Olympic champion Caster Semenya has filed an appeal to the Swiss Supreme Court after losing her case against a controversial IAAF ruling which would force her to lower her testosterone levels in order to race.

South Africa runner Caster Semenya has launched an appeal against new rules introduced by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF), claiming they violate her "fundamental human rights".

The new rules, which came into effect on May 8, state that female athletes with higher than normal testosterone levels would need to artificially lower the amount of the hormone in their bodies if they wanted to compete in races across distances between 400m and the mile.

Semenya, 28, is a two-time Olympic champion and three-time world champion over 800 meters, and also favors the 1500m distance.

The IAAF said she would be prevented from competing unless she took hormone medication.

"I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete. The IAAF will not drug me or stop me from being who I am," Semenya said in a statement announcing her decision to appeal the decision.

Earlier this month, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland rejected an initial appeal against the IAAF rules. CAS judges said that although the rules are "discriminatory... such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF's aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics in the Restricted Events".

Semenya has now taken her case to the Swiss Supreme Court.

"The CAS decision condones the IAAF's requirements for unnecessary and unwanted hormonal drug interventions on female athletes despite the lack of any medical protocols and the uncertain health consequences of such interventions," Semenya's statement added.

The world athletics body had ruled that "hyperandrogenic" athletes would have to lower their testosterone levels if they wished to compete as women. It claimed it gives them an advantage over other female athletes because of testosterone's ability to help athletes build muscle and carry more oxygen in their blood.

Dorothee Schramm, who is leading Semenya's appeal, said: "The IAAF regulations violate the most fundamental principles of Swiss public policy. In the race for justice, human rights must win over sporting interests."

Semenya said she will refuse to take medication but aspires to defend her 800m title at the world championships in Doha in September.

The World Medical Association, who has labeled the ruling as unethical, has urged doctors not to enforce the rules, warning attempts to do so would breach ethics codes.

jcs/em (AFP, AP)