South Africa Double Olympic 800m Champion32, king come close to European Court of Human Rights in February 2021 after losing an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, sport’s highest court, and the Swiss Federal Court (SFT) in a protracted legal battle.
tThe European Court of Human Rights ruled, by a narrow majority of four to three, that Semenya’s original appeal against the World Athletics Regulations had not been properly heard.
“In particular, the court found that the plaintiff was not afforded sufficient institutional and procedural guarantees in Switzerland to allow her complaints to be examined effectively,” the European Court of Human Rights said in a statement.
“The high stakes of the case for the plaintiff and the narrow margin of discretion afforded to the respondent state should have led to a comprehensive institutional and procedural review, but the applicant has been unable to obtain such a review.”
Semenya may now be free to challenge the rules that once again left her career hanging, but there is still some way to go in this regard.
Within a period of three months after the ECHR’s ruling is not final and either party can request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber of the Court.
Should such an application be made, a panel of five judges will consider whether the matter merits further examination. In this case, the Grand Chamber hears the case and makes a final judgment.
World Athletics said it was abiding by its rules, which will remain in force for the time being, and added that it would encourage the Swiss government to seek a review of the ruling.
“We continue to believe that the DSD regulations are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of protecting fair competition in the female category as found by both the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Swiss Federal Court, after a detailed and expert assessment of the evidence,” World Athletics said in a statement.
“We will be communicating with the Swiss government on next steps and, given the strong dissenting opinions in the decision, we will encourage them to seek a referral of the case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights for a final and final decision.”
Semenya suffers from a medical condition known as hyperandrogenism, which is characterized by higher than normal levels of testosterone, a hormone that increases muscle mass and strength, and hemoglobin, which affects endurance.
Under the rules, in order to compete in women’s events, athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) that result in elevated testosterone levels must lower them to those of a “healthy woman with ovaries”. They may take birth control pills, have a monthly injection or have surgery to remove the testicles.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in 2019 that the rules of world athletics are necessary for women’s fair competition.
Semenya said at the time that the rules were discriminatory and that the pill made her feel “constantly ill”. She lost her appeal to the ICC the year after the 2019 Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling was overturned.
Semenya won the gold medal in the women’s 800 meters at the 2016 Olympics and is also a three-time world champion in the distance.
The regulations, which initially applied to races from 400 meters to a mile, were expanded in March to all women’s track events, preventing Semenya from relaunching her career by running longer distances.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad and Nick Saeed in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond, Peter Graf and Christian Radnedge)