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Restoring Dignity

Caster Semenya has received the backing from the SA Human Rights Commission in her testosterone fight against World Athletics.


20 October 2021

THE SA Human Rights Commission SAHRC has thrown its weight behind Caster Semenya in her testosterone fight against World Athletics and the Court of Arbitration for Sport CAS , who dismissed her application to have her ban lifted. The World Athletics body barred the Limpopo athlete from participating in 800m and 1500m distances, "unless she lowers her testosterone levels" by taking hormone suppressing medication. The international athletics body is in the process of introducing a testosterone limit of "five nanomoles per litre" for athletes competing in international events. After lots offailed appeals, including with CAS, the British Journal of Sports Medicine in August called back its findings on a study that led to testosterone regulations in women's track events. According to Biznews, the study that was the basis for testosterone regulation in women's track events, and which prevented the twotime gold medallist from competing in the Tokyo Olympics, has been corrected by its publishers. "The correction says the influential study overstated the competitive advantage conferred by elevated testosterone levels for women athletes in certain races," reported Biznews in August. And this gave the 30yearold from GaMasehlong, guts to call World Athletics' decision as "bull" and that all its leadership must be removed. Semenya told SunSport last month that "hopefully in two years' time I would join my friends in this field of distances". "On the track and field, I think I still have four years, or so. I still have those legs," she said.

Semenya said she wants to take part in the next Olympic Games in Paris 2024 after missing out on the Tokyo Games where the athletics team failed to bring home a single medal. Then I would still make a decision whether I would go to Los Angeles 2028 . Probably I would come back in marathons, who knows?" said Semenya. She said officials have admitted their wrongdoing in her controversial testosterone case "and nothing has been decided, just yet" after discrepancies were found in their research about women runners. "I believe the Court of Arbitration and the Supreme Court have failed me," she said. "People have absorbed information that is flawed and unreliable, and they have adopted it." Semenya's challenge is grounded in various rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights ECHR . And now her case is with the European Court of Human Rights ECtHR , which led to the SAHRC to also file its submission as Third Party Intervener. "This is the first time that the commission is involved in human rights litigation in an international forum, and its submission thus marks a significant milestone in this important matter regarding gender equality," said the SAHRC in a statement yesterday. "The Commission successfully sought leave to intervene in the matter so as to elucidate the adverse impacts of the IAAF' s Differences of Sex Development DSD regulations on women from the Global South." The SA human rights body said it further seeks to "demonstrate that intersectional discrimination has a unique and synergistic discriminatory effect on women from the Global South".

Source: Daily Sun

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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