June 22, 2024

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Caster Semenya triumphs in an appeal to the “European Court of Human Rights.”

The “European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)” has ruled in favour of Caster Semenya, the double 800m Olympic champion, in a case concerning testosterone levels in female athletes. Semenya, who was born with “differences of sexual development (DSD),” has been barred from competing in track events without undergoing testosterone-reducing treatment. Despite two previous legal challenges, the regulations introduced by “World Athletics in 2018” have remained in effect.

However, the recent case at the ECHR targeted the Swiss government for failing to protect Semenya’s rights. The dispute originated from a “Swiss Supreme Court” ruling three years ago, which upheld the decision of the “Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)” to support the World Athletics regulations. The ECHR determined that the Swiss government had not adequately safeguarded Semenya from discrimination as her complaints of increased testosterone levels resulting from DSD were not effectively examined.

The ECHR ruling suggested that the World Athletics regulations constituted a form of discrimination against Semenya, both in their application and their effects, and were incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The decision, reached by a panel of seven judges, was split 4-3 in Semenya’s favour, potentially enabling her to challenge the Swiss Supreme Court and CAS rulings.

World Athletics responded by stating that the ECHR chamber was divided and announcing their intention to request that the Swiss government refer the case to the ECHR Grand Chamber for a final decision. Semenya’s legal team hailed the judgement as a personal triumph for her resilience and courage, emphasising its broader significance for elite athletes worldwide. Athletics South Africa welcomed the ruling, viewing it as vindication of their belief that the existing DSD regulations were flawed. They stated their intention to seek legal advice regarding Semenya’s future participation in athletics.

The ECHR’s decision has reignited the debate surrounding the eligibility criteria for female athletes with DSD, raising questions about the balance between ensuring fair competition and respecting individual rights. The case has far-reaching implications for the future of Semenya’s career and the regulations governing the participation of athletes with DSD in international sports events.