Monday 14 October, 2019

Semenya won't defend 800 world title after court setback

 In this Friday, May 3, 2019 file photo, South Africa's Caster Semenya crosses the line to win the gold in the women's 800m final during the Diamond League in Doha, Qatar.

In this Friday, May 3, 2019 file photo, South Africa's Caster Semenya crosses the line to win the gold in the women's 800m final during the Diamond League in Doha, Qatar.

Caster Semenya won't defend her title in the 800 metres at the world championships this fall after a Swiss court overturned a temporary ruling that allowed her to run without taking testosterone-suppressing drugs to compete in international events.

Semenya is locked in a court battle with the IAAF, track and field's governing body, over rules that require her to take the drugs to counter her naturally high testosterone levels. On Tuesday, a judge from the Swiss Federal Supreme Court reversed a June ruling that had temporarily thrown out the IAAF regulations upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport while her appeal is pending.

Semenya, a 28-year-old from South Africa, was legally classified as female at birth and has identified as female her whole life. She was born with the typical male XY chromosome pattern and a condition that results in male and female biological characteristics and testosterone higher than the typical female range. The IAAF has argued that athletes with her condition are "biologically male," an assertion that Semenya calls "deeply hurtful."

"I am very disappointed to be kept from defending my hard-earned title, but this will not deter me from continuing my fight for the human rights of all of the female athletes concerned," Semenya said in a statement.

She is a two-time Olympic champion in the 800, including in 2012 when she was taking the hormone suppressants. Tuesday's ruling means she cannot compete in events ranging from the 400 to the mile. The world championships are Sept. 28-Oct. 6 in Doha, Qatar.

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