Clarity for all: IAAF

Updated: Aug 01, 2019, 10:03 IST | AFP

World athletics body says Swiss Court's ruling restricting SA's Semenya from competing at World Championships in Doha clears the air on gender issue

Clarity for all: IAAF
South African Caster Semenya

Paris: A Swiss court ruling that blocks South African Caster Semenya from defending her world 800m title in Doha in September creates much-needed "parity and clarity" in athletics, the sport's governing body said yesterday.

A judge at the Swiss Federal Tribunal on Monday revoked a temporary suspension on the IAAF's controversial testosterone-curbing rules, meaning two-time Olympic champion Semenya can no longer compete in events between the 400m and mile, as she did in June and July.

Swiss Tribunal's decision
"The IAAF welcomes the Swiss Federal Tribunal's decision today to revoke its Super-Provisional Order of 31 May 2019 after hearing the IAAF's arguments," the International Association of Athletics Federations said after the judge's ruling was made public yesterday. "This decision creates much-needed parity and clarity for all athletes as they prepare for the World Championships in Doha this September."

Semenya had appealed to the Swiss court in May after failing to get the new IAAF regulations overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The IAAF added that it would maintain its position in the remainder of proceedings at the Swiss Federal Tribunal that "there are some contexts, sport being one of them, where biology has to trump gender identity, which is why the IAAF believes [and the CAS agreed] that the DSD [differences of sexual development] regulations are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of protecting fair and meaningful competition in elite female athletics".

Caster's classification
Semenya is classified as a woman, was raised as a woman and races as a woman. But for the IAAF, women like Semenya, with certain masculine attributes due to DSD, are classified, biologically, as men. It is a position hotly contested by South African officials.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal, in its ruling released, was also not optimistic for Semenya's ongoing appeal. It concluded "in a first summary examination, that Caster Semenya's appeal does not appear with high probability to be well founded".

"The CAS, after thoroughly evaluating the expert evidence, found that the '46 XY DSD' characteristic has a direct impact on performance in sport, which could never be achieved by other women," the tribunal said.

"Thus, with the participation of a female athlete with '46 XY DSD' in the 'protected class women', a basic principle of top-class sports, namely fair competition, is disregarded from the outset."

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