Caster Semenya is ready to sacrifice her 800m world championship title to mount her latest legal fight within weeks of the landmark ruling against her on testosterone-reducing drugs.
Semenya’s lawyer stated that she would continue to defy the enforced medication as the deadline expired on Wednesday, May 8 for athletes with Differences in Sexual Development (DSD) to comply with the new rules in time for the IAAF World Championships in Doha in September.
Semenya also tweeted a picture of a clenched fist with the word “resist”. Following last week’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling, Semenya now faces a race against time to launch an appeal at the Swiss Federal Tribunal by May 31 to resurrect any chance of competing in Doha.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had set a deadline of Wednesday – exactly one week after the CAS ruling – for DSD athletes to submit samples showing a testosterone level below five nanomoles per liter, which they must maintain over the next four and a half months (until the start of the Doha world championships on September 28).
Gregory Nott, one of Semenya’s legal representatives, confirmed it was “very safe to say” she would continue avoiding any curbs on her testosterone levels.
Earlier in the week, the IAAF published answers to 12 pertinent questions regarding DSD regulations on its website.
The sporting body clarified that the regulations only applied to DSD athletes who are legally female (or intersex), have male chromosomes (XY) not female chromosomes (XX), testes not ovaries, testosterone in the male range and the ability to make use of that testosterone circulating within their bodies.
“In 46XY DSD individuals, reducing serum testosterone to female levels by using a contraceptive pill (or other means) is the recognised standard of care for 46XY DSD athletes with a female gender identity. These medications are gender-affirming,” the IAAF letter said.
As a result of the CAS ruling, Semenya would not be able to compete in distances between 400m and a mile (1 600m) without medicating. The 3000m is no longer a distance raced at world championship nor Olympics level, leaving Semenya with the 5000m as her next option.
Semenya won the 5000m at the recent ASA Senior Athletics Championships in Germiston which doubled as the SA qualifiers for the Doha world championships.
Semenya is a double 800m Olympic champion having taken the gold medal in London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
She is also a three-time 800m world champion, with victories in 2009 in Berlin, 2011 in Daegu and 2017 in London.