AFPPARIS (AFP-Jiji) — A Swiss court ruling that blocks South African Caster Semenya from defending her world 800-meter title in Doha in September creates much-needed “parity and clarity” in athletics, the sport’s governing body said Wednesday.
A judge at the Swiss Federal Tribunal on Monday revoked a temporary suspension on the IAAF’s controversial testosterone-curbing rules, meaning two-time Olympic champion Semenya can no longer compete in events between the 400 and the mile, as she did in June and July.
“The IAAF welcomes the Swiss Federal Tribunal’s decision today to revoke its Super-Provisional Order of 31 May 2019 after hearing the IAAF’s arguments,” the International Association of Athletics Federations said after the judge’s ruling was made public Wednesday.
“This decision creates much-needed parity and clarity for all athletes as they prepare for the World Championships in Doha this September.”
Semenya had appealed to the Swiss court in May after failing to get the new IAAF regulations overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The IAAF added that it would maintain its position in the remainder of proceedings at the Swiss Federal Tribunal that “there are some contexts, sport being one of them, where biology has to trump gender identity, which is why the IAAF believes (and the CAS agreed) that the DSD (differences of sexual development) regulations are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of protecting fair and meaningful competition in elite female athletics.”
Semenya is classified as a woman, was raised as a woman and races as a woman. But for the IAAF, women like Semenya, with certain masculine attributes due to DSD, are classified, biologically, as men. It is a position hotly contested by South African officials.
In the buildup to the 2009 world championships in Berlin, where Semenya went on to win gold in the 800, the South African had to undergo gender verification testing to confirm her eligibility to compete in the women’s category.