The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland has ordered the IAAF to immediately suspend the implementation of the eligibility regulations against Caster Semenya. The IAAF is to allow Semenya to compete without restriction in the female category while her appeal is pending.
Semenya filed the appeal in the Swiss court after the IAAF introduced a new testosterone limit for female athletes who want to compete internationally between 400m and a mile (1.6km). Semenya has hyperandrogenism, a condition that causes a person to produce more testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone found in both men and women.
The new IAAF rules target the races that Semenya runs in - 400m and 800m. The IAAF came under strong criticism from academics, campaigners and doctors for specifically targeting Semenya as well as for the lack of scientific grounding in their testosterone limit. Semenya received support from South Africans and other Africans as well. Kenya, however, pulled its athletes who have the same condition as Semenya from the targeted races, much to the dismay of Kenyans who stood in support with their athletes.
Following the order by the Swiss court, Semenya stated, "I am thankful to the Swiss judges for this decision. I am hopeful that, following my appeal, I will once again run free."
Swiss counsel for Semenya, Dr Dorothee Schramm of Sidley Austin LLP welcomed the decision saying, "The Swiss Supreme Court has granted welcome temporary protection to Caster Semenya. This is an important case that will have fundamental implications for the human rights of female athletes."
Header Image Credit: Athletics Weekly