As the court case regarding the IAAF’s ‘Semenya Rule” heads to the Court Arbitration of Sport. Athletics South Africa (ASA) is speaking up in defense of Caster Semenya and advocate for her right to compete in sports.

“As South Africans, we all have a constitutional obligation to contest any infringements of human rights, shaped by our experiences under apartheid.”

The IAAF is expected to argue that athletes like Semenya should be required to undergo medical intervention which includes (but not limited to) taking testosterone suppressing hormone treatment in order to compete as a woman in IAAF sanctioned competitions. Semenya is an athlete who lives with a condition known as hyperandrogenism in which her body naturally produces higher levels of androgen hormones such as testosterone. Semenya has had to undergo constant criticism and judgment in her successful athletic career, including forced to undergo an unethical “gender verification” test that had ruled her eligible to compete in the women’s division. Semenya is 2x Olympic gold medalist in the 800m track event having competed in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.

The IOC policies on hyperandrogenism are currently ambiguous at best, but do not clarify nor take a specific position. Instead they revert to the Court Arbitration of Sport for judgement on the issue which makes Semenya’s case so important as it will define future policies regarding athletes with hyperandrogenism going forward.

A petition, started by the First Choice Foundation is speaking out against the IAAF proposed guidelines that would inhibit Semenya from continuing to compete. Currently, the petition has gathered 50,000 signatures with a goal of 75,000 that will be presented at the Court Arbitration of Sport hearing on March 26th. View and sign the petition here!

By Dirk Smith