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South African Olympian Files Suit at European Court of Human Rights

South African Olympian Wants to Compete

The lawyers of South Africa’s Caster Semenya said on Thursday that the two-time Olympic champion is going to the European Court of Human Rights.

The lawsuit is to challenge perceived “discriminatory World Athletics’ regulations that prohibit her from competing in certain women’s track events — unless she medically lowers her naturally high testosterone levels.

An Exceptional Female Athlete

Semenya has the typical male XY chromosome pattern and the 30-year-old was not only legally assigned female at birth but has also self-identified as female all her life.

World Athletics says that her levels of testosterone are much higher than that of a perceived typical female range — concluding that this gives her and other athletes like her an unfair advantage over other female runners.

The regulations have been fiercely criticised — mainly because of the so-called “treatment’ options the Track & Field body indicates to allow concerned athletes to compete.

The women have one of three options to lower their testosterone levels:
1.) Taking daily contraceptive pills
2.) Using hormone-blocking injections
3.) Having surgery.

Semenya is not the only athlete contending with this issue.

Two other Olympic medalists from Africa, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Margaret Wambui of Kenya, have stated that are bound by the same rules — adding that they would refuse to undergo medical intervention to reduce their testosterone levels.

The Olympic Games Await

The 800 meters dash winning-athlete has already lost two legal appeals but her lawyers say that there has been a “violation of her rights” and want the human rights court to examine the rules — ideally in time for the delayed Tokyo Olympics.

The event is set to open on July 23 and could be Semenya’s last shot at the games.

Previous sports cases that have gone to the European Court of Human Rights have taken years to be decided.

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