At last Caster Semenya now has a reprieve.
Switzerland’s top court said Monday it had temporarily suspendedIAAF rules that oblige athletes including double Olympic champion Caster Semenya to lower her testosterone levels in order to compete in certain events.
Swiss Federal Tribunal spokesman Peter Josi told AFP that the court had issued a “super-provisional order,” barring the application of the IAAF rules until a further hearing can take place concerning the rules that were previously approved by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“I am thankful to the Swiss judges for this decision,” Semenya, the South African who won the women’s 800 metres at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, said in a statement issued by her legal team.
“I hope that following my appeal I will once again be able to run free,” she added.
The new IAAF rules require women with higher than normal male hormone levels to artificially lower the amount of testosterone in their bodies if they are to compete in races over distances of 400m to the mile.
Semenya and Athletics South Africa lost their CAS appeal against the measures. In a split decision, arbitrators at the sports court acknowledged however that the rules were “discriminatory.”
Semenya last week announced plans to appeal to Switzerland’s highest court.
“This is an important case that will have fundamental implications for the human rights of female athletes,” Semenya’s Swiss lawyer, Dorothee Schramm, said in the statement.
The reprieve granted by the court in Bern also applies to the two women who finished behind her in the 800m at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui of Kenya.