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Athletics SA appeal Semenya judgment

Athletics South Africa (ASA) will appeal the Court of Arbitration Sport’s (CAS) judgment in the case lodged by itself and Caster Semenya. The department of sports and recreation announced the news on Monday morning, giving the body its full backing to overturn an outcome that “is inconceivable”.

At the end of last month, the arbitration court rejected Olympic gold medalist Semenya’s attempt to halt new testosterone regulations implemented by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The court’s case had run concurrently to the athlete’s, with each summoning a team of experts to challenge the veracity of the IAAF’s facts and prove discrimination.

READ MORE: Semenya war reaches new impasse

The reasons given for the appeal are:

“ASA applied for recusal of two of the arbitrators who it felt they were conflicted since they have handled the earlier case of the Indian sprinter, Dutee Chand, as Caster was also going to be an affected athlete,” the department said in its press release.

“The strength of scientific, medical and legal case we presented, we believe, the outcome is inconceivable on the fact. The facts before the court and the outcome do not match.”

“The pertinent legal questions that the court should have addressed we not addressed. The court simply gave the unfettered latitude to the IAAF to do as it pleases. For instance, it has not been answered as to how the IAAF will implement the regulations and how ethical issues will be addressed.”

The court of arbitration’s ruling came as a devastating blow to Semenya. Under the IAAF’s new regulations, which went into effect last week, athletes in her position would be forced to lower and maintain their testosterone levels for an extended time. Semenya has given no indication that she will comply with the new rules and undergo treatment.

Two days after the CAS ruling, Semenya won the 800m at the Diamond League meet in Doho, Qatar – the last major international event she would have been eligible under current circumstances.

“Actions speak louder than words,” she told BBC Sport after the race. “When you are a great champion, you always deliver.”

She said: “It’s up to God. God has decided my life, God will end my life; God has decided my career, God will end my career. No man, or any other human, can stop me from running.”

But, should the rules not be successfully appealed, it’s likely she will miss out on both the World Championships in September and the Olympic Games next year.

ASA’s appeal will be heard at the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

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Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham is a features writer at the Mail & Guardian

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