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Caster Semenya is taking her legal battle to the European Court of Human Rights

General

Caster Semenya is not giving up. The 29-year-old middle-distance runner from South Africa is taking her long-suffering legal battle to the European Court of Human Rights.

November 19, 2020
Source: Jeff Ciu/AP Photo
Source: Jeff Ciu/AP Photo

The GIST: Caster Semenya is not giving up. The 29-year-old middle-distance runner from South Africa is taking her long-suffering legal battle to the European Court of Human Rights.

What’s the deal?: Semenya, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has a medical condition called hyperandrogenism, meaning her body produces higher than normal levels of testosterone. Due to her classification as intersex and resulting perceived biological advantage, her eligibility to compete amongst her female peers has frequently been challenged.

  • In 2018, World Athletics (the international governing body) introduced new regulations in women’s middle distance events — aka Semenya’s specialty — that would force athletes like Semenya to medically lower their testosterone levels before being allowed to compete. Just awful.

Horrible. So what now?: Although Semenya and her team have successfully blocked multiple attempts to prevent her from competing, in 2019 they lost their fight against the new regulations in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and, most recently, their appeal at the Swiss Federal Tribunal. Taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights is likely Semenya’s last chance in this ongoing battle.

  • In the meantime, Semenya has found something of a loophole: she’s switching to the 200m event in hopes of qualifying for next summer’s Olympics. Run, baby, run!