Caster Semenya finally secures Rabat Diamond League invitation after IAAF’s failed attempt to re-impose DSD regulations

Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam, AIPS Young Reporter, Nigeria

LAUSANNE, June 14, 2019 – The IAAF’s request to re-impose its new female eligibilty rules pending Caster Semenya’s appeal has been rejected by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland. Hence the South African world and Olympic 800m champion can continue to compete without restriction.

SUPERPROVISIONAL ORDER Last week the Swiss court had ordered that the regulations, which state that Semenya and other athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) must take medication to reduce their naturally-occurring testosterone if they want to compete in track events ranging from 400 metres to a mile, be suspended with immediate effect.

The IAAF in response to the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) explained that the “SFT ‘s decision was “ex parte” meaning that it was requested and issued without the IAAF’s knowledge”, adding that it “will seek a swift reversion of the superprovisional order moving forwards so that the DSD Regulations apply to all affected athletes in order (among other things) to avoid serious confusion amongst athletes and event organisers and to protect the integrity of the sport”.

FAILED REQUEST However, Semenya’s lawyers have revealed in a statement that the world governing body’s request was denied. “After considering the IAAF’s arguments, the Court has now determined in a second order that the IAAF’s request failed to set out any reason or change in circumstance that would justify a reconsideration of the prior order.

“This means that Caster remains permitted to compete without restriction in the female category at this time.”

The 28-year-old added: “No woman should be subjected to these rules. I thought hard about not running the 800m in solidarity unless all women can run free. But I will run now to show the IAAF that they cannot drug us.”

NECESSARY The court’s “superprovisional order” would be in place until June 25, which is the deadline given to the  IAAF to respond to the case. The world governing body is insisting that the “DSD Regulations are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of protecting fair and meaningful competition in elite female athletics, and the CAS agreed”.

Semenya, who has been challenging the testosterone ruling since it was introduced in April 2018, took her case to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in IAAF’s favour last month.

RABAT DIAMOND LEAGUE On Thursday, Semenya’s lawyers claimed that the South African had been prevented from competing in the 800m at the upcoming Diamond League event in Rabat scheduled for Sunday June 16.

According to them: “Caster is currently seeking clarity on the specific reasons for that decision, and she urges the IAAF to ensure its member federations comply with the law and the Supreme Court’s orders.”

The IAAF told Reuters that it has no say on who participates in the Diamond League.

“It should be noted that the Diamond League meetings are not organised by the IAAF. Entry for any athlete into a Diamond League meeting is by invitation only from the meeting organiser.”

Then on Friday, meeting organiser Alain Blondel told the BBC he was “happy to confirm” Semenya had been invited.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS Semenya was on June 10 named in South Africa’s preliminary squad for the World Championships which will be held from September 27 – October 6 in Qatar. Her participation in the competition will depend on the outcome of her appeal.

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