caster semenya picture: instagram
Olympic 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya received a big win after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in the athlete’s favour after she was discriminated against by rules forcing her to lower her testosterone levels in order to compete. Caster had previously appealed against the ban imposed by World Athletics.
The ruling was split 4-3 in favour of Caster.
Due to being born with differences of sexual development (DSD), Caster produced high levels of testosterone, which was thought to be too high for a female athlete, according to World Athletics.
The athletic governing body had even required Caster, along with other female athletes, to take hormone treatment in 2018 to decrease their natural testosterone levels. However, Caster refused.
According to the BBC, the case at the ECHR was against the Swiss government for not protecting Caster’s rights and dates back to a Swiss Supreme Court ruling three years ago.
A lengthy statement by the ECHR read:
“The court found in particular that the applicant had not been afforded sufficient institutional and procedural safeguards in Switzerland to allow her to have her complaints examined effectively, especially since her complaints concerned substantiated and credible claims of discrimination as a result of her increased testosterone level caused by differences of sex development.”
World Athletics had also released a statement after the ruling. The statement read, “We remain of the view that the DSD regulations are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of protecting fair competition in the female category as the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Swiss Federal Tribunal both found, after a detailed and expert assessment of the evidence.”
Their statement further read, “We will liaise with the Swiss government on the next steps. In the meantime, the current DSD regulations, approved by the World Athletics Council in March 2023, will remain in place.”
Also see: Oprah Winfrey to host special conference in Johannesburg