We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Caster Semenya 'free' to run again

World champion Caster Semenya is now free to compete in athletics track events ranging between 400 and 1,600 metres.
World champion Caster Semenya is now free to compete in athletics track events ranging between 400 and 1,600 metres.
Image: REUTERS / Moritz Hager

Double Olympic champion Caster Semenya can compete freely again, although only temporarily.

The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland has ordered the IAAF to suspend its female eligibility regulations with immediate effect, her lawyers said in a statement.

This means Semenya will be able to compete in the 400m, 800m and 1,500m races while the appeal is pending.

Semenya appealed the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision to allow the IAAF to implement its female eligibility regulations, which require athletes with difference of sex development (DSD) to take medication to lower their high levels of naturally occurring testosterone.

“The Swiss Supreme Court has granted welcome temporary protection to Caster Semenya,” the athlete’s Swiss lawyer, Dr Dorothee Schramm of Sidley Austin LLP, was quoted as saying in the release. 

“This is an important case that will have fundamental implications for the human rights of female athletes.”

However, the Swiss court will issue another ruling on the continued suspension of the regulations after the IAAF lodges its submissions.

“I am thankful to the Swiss judges for this decision,” Semenya said in the statement. “I hope that following my appeal I will once again be able to run free.”

Switzerland’s top court confirmed on Monday it had temporarily suspended IAAF rules that oblige female athletes to lower testosterone levels in order to compete in certain events. 

Swiss Federal Tribunal spokesman Peter Josi told AFP that the court had issued a “super-provisional order,” barring the application of the IAAF rules until a further hearing can take place concerning the rules that were previously approved by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Under the IAAF’s new regulations, Semenya had signed to run in a 3,000m race at the US Diamond League meet in Stanford on June 30.

The regulations don’t include races longer than a mile. 

While the Rome competition on Thursday is already booked up, there are two other Diamond League meets that could be available to Semenya, the Diamond League women's 800m champion for the past three years. 

The Oslo and Rabat meets on June 13 and 16 both offer women’s 800m races.  

There are also three World Challenge meets this month, at Hengelo on Sunday, the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland on June 11 and the Golden Spike in Ostrava on June 20.

Additional reporting by AFP