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Govt calls on world to rally behind Caster Semenya after appeal loss

The double Olympic 800 metres champion has been fighting last year’s ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which said that she should take the drugs before she could compete in events between 400 meters and 1,500 meters.

FILE: South African Caster Semenya reacts after winning in the women's 2000m race during the France's LNA (athletics national association) Pro Athle Tour meeting on 11 June 2019 at the Jean-Delbert stadium in Montreuil. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa on Wednesday described the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland’s dismissal of Caster Semenya’s appeal of a ruling which ordered her to take medication to reduce her testosterone levels as “unfortunate” and “offensive” to the human rights of female athletes classified as hyperandrogenic.

“As the Government of democratic South Africa, a country renowned for its tradition of promoting and protecting basic human rights, together with Athletics SA, we will study the judgment and consider various options and avenues at our disposal in our collective campaign to fight this injustice,” Mthethwa said in a statement.

The double Olympic 800 metres champion has been fighting last year’s ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which said that she should take the drugs before she could compete in events between 400 meters and 1,500 meters.

The court found that subjecting female athletes to drugs or surgical interventions to compete did not amount to a violation of Swiss public policy.

Some competitors claimed that women with higher levels of the hormone had an unfair advantage.

The South African government called on the world to rally behind Semenya in a quest to defeat what it called an injustice against women in sport, and in particular African women.

“We call upon all South Africans, Africans and the entire world to rally behind Caster in our quest to defeat injustice against women in sport and in particular African women”

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