South African Olympic champion and intersex athlete, Caster Semenya has been barred from running the 800 metres in Morocco after she was denied entry into the competition, despite Switzerland’s highest court rejecting an IAAF request for eligibility regulations to be reimposed on her.
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulations had ruled that XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) like Semenya, can only race in distances from 400m to 1500m if they take medication to reduce their naturally-occurring testosterone levels. But the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) temporarily lifted the regulations affecting Semenya until June 25 but could extend that further after hearing submissions from the IAAF and Athletics South Africa over an appeal against a May 1 Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) award upholding the rules.
The 28-year-old who wanted to contest the 800m in Rabat claimed on Thursday night that the president of the Moroccan Athletics Federation denied her entry into the IAAF Diamond League meet in Morocco on Sunday.
After being blocked entry to run in Rabat, where the South African won at the meet in 2018, a statement from Semenya’s legal team read: ‘Caster expresses grave frustration that she has been prevented from competing in the 800m in Rabat, in an apparent violation of the Swiss Supreme Court’s order.
‘She was notified on June 11 that the president of the Moroccan Athletics Federation has denied her participation. Caster is currently seeking clarity on the specific reasons for that decision, and she urges the IAAF to ensure its member federations comply with the law and the Supreme Court’s orders of May 31 and June 12.’
Speaking with BBC, Semenya: “No woman should be subjected to these rules. I thought hard about not running the 800m in solidarity unless all women can run free. But I will run now to show the IAAF that they cannot drug us.”
The IAAF has also released a statement saying it has no say in who competes in the Diamond League events.
“The IAAF continues to comply with the Swiss Federal Tribunal’s order dated 31 May to suspend the DSD Regulations in as far as they apply to the appellant,” the ruling body said.
“It should be noted that the Diamond League meetings are not organised by the IAAF.
“Entry for any athlete into a Diamond League meeting is by invitation only from the meeting organiser.”