Caster Semenya has announced that she will ask the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to set aside the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against her in its entirety.
“I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete,” she said in a statement. “The IAAF will not drug me or stop me from being who I am.”
This comes after the CAS decision on 1 May, which rejected Semenya’s appeal to prevent the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from implementing new testosterone regulations, meaning the double Olympic gold medal athlete will be forced to artificially reduce her testosterone levels should she wish to continue competing in her favoured events.
Two days after the CAS ruling, Semenya won the 800m at the Diamond League meet in Doha, Qatar.
Semenya’s statement says her appeal “focuses on fundamental human rights”, and that the Swiss Federal Supreme Court will be asked to consider whether the IAAF’s requirements for compulsory drug interventions violate essential and widely recognized public policy values, including the prohibition against discrimination, the right to physical integrity, the right to economic freedom, and respect for human dignity.
The appeal will be led by Dr Dorothee Schramm of Sidley Austin LLP in Geneva, who notes: “The IAAF regulations violate the most fundamental principles of Swiss public policy. In the race for justice, human rights must win over sporting interests.”
The World Medical Association has already rejected the IAAF’s demands for hormonal drug interventions on non-medical grounds and declared the IAAF regulations to be contrary to their basic ethical principles. The Swedish Medical Association has similarly called for the IAAF’s requirements to be lifted immediately because they amount to flagrant discrimination based on genetic variations of female athletes and they violate international medical ethics and human rights.
“It is gravely concerning that the IAAF has called on doctors to ‘clarify’ the gender identities of female athletes and justified medical interventions on female athletes as ‘gender-affirming’. Such views are based not in modern science or medicine,” said Semenya’s South African lawyer, Gregory Nott of Norton Rose Fulbright. “Instead, they reflect an outdated and deeply flawed socio-cultural stereotype of what it means to be a woman.”
Semenya’s decision to appeal comes after Athletics South Africa (ASA) announced on 13 May that it will appeal the CAS judgment, with the department of sports and recreation giving the body its full backing to overturn an outcome that “is inconceivable”.