Athletics SA reaffirm ‘total commitment to fight alongside Caster Semenya’

Athletics South Africa (ASA) say they are “appalled” by the UK media report that stated that the IAAF wanted to classify Caster Semenya as a “biological male”, and have reaffirmed their support for the 800m star ahead of her appeal against new regulations.

Semenya and ASA will present their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland next week against the IAAF’s proposed new rules regarding female athletes with hyperandrogenism from the 400m to the mile distances.

The IAAF have since denied that they intend to propose that Semenya be classified as a “biological male”.

But one of their London-based lawyers did say to the The Times of London that if Semenya wins her case, it could lead to other athletes with hyperandrogenism dominating women’s races in the middle-distance events.

“Athletics South Africa has reaffirmed its total commitment to back and fight alongside Caster Semenya and other affected female athletes when the two parties appear next week before the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland to challenge the IAAF’s regulations relating to the eligibility criteria for elite women athletes with increased naturally occurring testosterone levels,” ASA said in a statement on Friday.

“ASA is appalled by the reports published in the UK media that the IAAF intends to submit to CAS that Caster Semenya should be classified as ‘biological male’. ASA notes that such reports have since been denied by the IAAF lawyers.

“ASA reaffirms its unqualified support for Caster Semenya and athletes who may be affected by the IAAF DSD Regulations. ASA has a duty to do so.

“ASA wishes to express its gratitude to the South African government and Sascoc for supporting the legal challenge against these regulations.

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

“The ASA/Semenya challenge is led by appointed legal and medical teams which are fully supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation, and Sascoc.”

Earlier on Friday, Minister of Sport and Recreation, Tokozile Xasa, extended her support to Semenya.

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Sport and Recreation Minister Tokozile Xasa and director general Alec Moremi at a press briefing on Friday regarding Caster Semenya’s case against the IAAF. Photo: Jonisayi Maromo/African News Agency/ANA

“This interest is informed by our historical stance as a nation towards human rights and also if the proposed regulations go unchallenged will have a negative impact to our Golden Girl, Caster Semenya,” Xasa said.

“What’s at stake here is far more than the right to participate in a sport. Women’s bodies, their wellbeing, their ability to earn a livelihood, their very identity, their privacy and sense of safety and belonging in the world, are being questioned.

“This is a gross violation of internationally accepted standards of human rights law.”


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