Athletics SA to approach minister to continue fight for Caster Semenya​

Caster Semenya says she has already won the battle having won so many accolades in her career.
Caster Semenya Caster Semenya says she has already won the battle having won so many accolades in her career.
Image: REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Athletics South Africa (ASA) says it will approach Sport minister Nathi Mthethwa to discuss the next step in the fight to have Caster Semenya allowed to compete freely. 

The federation said it could approach the European Court of Human Rights to resume its battle to achieve justice for Semenya, the two-time Olympic 800m champion. 

The Swiss Federal Tribunal on Tuesday dismissed the appeal by Semenya and ASA, ruling that the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to permit the female eligibility guidelines by World Athletics standards. 

Female athletes with naturally occurring high levels of testosterone wanting to compete in events from 400m to the mile must take medication — or undergo surgery — to reduce those levels. 

“ASA will now be seeking an audience with the minister of sports for guidance about how the government of South Africa thinks we should collectively take the matter forward in our pursuit to remove discrimination in sports and restore full observance of human rights to all participants,” the federation said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. 

“[ASA] had all along contended that the regulations were highly discriminatory against athletes such as Caster Semenya and that the data relied upon to formulate the regulations were irregularly obtained, tainted and unreliable.”

ASA said it appealed against the CAS decision because the CAS award had not been unanimous, with one of the three arbitrators dissenting, and because CAS had recommended to World Athletics not to implement the regulations in respect of the 1,500m and the mile “due to a lack of evidence”. 

“ASA had been confident of a favourable outcome before the Swiss Federal Supreme Court given the human rights, medico-legal and scientific  arguments and evidence that we believe invalidated the regulations.

"It is these facts that have left ASA shocked that the court rejected these compelling factors in favour of World Athletics. 

“Given the profound and global effect plus consequences the implementation of the regulations will have, the regulations may warrant to be tested in the European Court of Human Rights to pronounce on the matter.”​