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Semenya: IAAF’s testosterone regulations discriminatory, unjustifiable

Semenya's lawyers have on Monday confirmed that she’ll be challenging the rule that seeks to regulate female athletes with higher levels of testosterone that was announced in march this year.

FILE: South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya celebrates winning gold in the Women's 800m final at the Commonwealth Games in Australia on 13 April 2018. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG – Olympic champion Caster Semenya has described the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)'s testosterone regulations as an offensive practice of intrusive surveillance and judgement of women's bodies.

Semenya's lawyers have on Monday confirmed that she’ll be challenging the rule that seeks to regulate female athletes with higher levels of testosterone that was announced in March this year.

In a statement released on Monday afternoon, Semenya says she’s upset that she has been pushed back into the spotlight, adding that she thinks it’s unfair that she is being told to change.

Semenya is referring to the IAAF rule that could see her and other female athletes forced to undergo testosterone-reducing therapy if they wish to continue to compete under its banner.

In her papers to the Court of Arbitration for Sports, Semenya asserts that the regulations are discriminatory, irrational, and unjustifiable.

Semenya’s lawyers say her legal challenge is a landmark case concerning human rights and the discrimination of women in athletics.

Gregory Nott will represent Semenya in her case against the IAAF over the hyperandrogenism rule.

Nott says the regulations have major consequences for gender rights which are protected by the South African Bill of Rights

Following the announcement of the regulation, South African Law Professor Steve Cornelius resigned from the IAAF’s Tribunal citing that he could not in good conscience continue to associate himself with an organisation that insists on ostracising female athletes.

Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa called the laws sexist, racist and homophobic.

The controversial laws come into effect in November and will only apply to middle distance races which include those Semenya competes in.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)