Caster Semenya is free to run again as she is. At least until the end of June.
The Swiss supreme federal court on Monday announced that it has ordered the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to suspend its new testosterone regulations.
According to the regulations, female athletes with naturally high testosterone levels should take medicine to suppress their testosterone levels.
Alternatively, the regulations state, they have to change their distances to longer ones or compete against men.
The ban against Semenya competing came into effect on May 8, several days after she won an 800m race in the Diamond League in Doha.
The ban was quickly followed by an announcement from Semenya and Athletics South Africa (ASA) that they would appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The CAS specialises in international sports-related disputes.
Semenya’s lawyer Greg Nott said the news is “morally uplifting and good for Caster.”
Nott added: “The court has ordered the IAAF to suspend immediately the implementation of the regulation with regard to Caster and has given the IAAF until June 25 to respond to the suspense of effect. It is absolutely positive news.”
Even though Semenya is not the only female athlete affected by regulations that the IAAF says are aimed at levelling the playing field, most restrictions apply to distances that Semenya runs.
We welcome the decision taken by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to suspend the implementation of the IAAF’s regulations for athletes with "differences of sex development" pending @Caster800m#CasterSemenya's appeal. We will never rest until justice is served! #IStandByCasterpic.twitter.com/kcDZmh14EJ— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) June 3, 2019
This includes the 800m distance in which she has been unbeaten since 2015. The restrictions also apply to pole vault, the 400m hurdles, and the 400m and 1,500m races.
At the moment, it’s not yet known if the the ruling by the CAS will be in effect long enough for Semenya to compete at the World Championships in Doha in September.
Semenya thanked CAS for the ruling, saying: “I hope that following my appeal I will once again be able to run free.”
Born a winner. 👈💎— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) June 3, 2019
Dr Dorothee Schramm, Semenya’s Swiss lawyer, added: “This is an important case that will have fundamental implications for the human rights of female athletes.”
The IAAF has not released a statement yet, with the organisation’s spokesperson saying: “We have received no information from the Swiss Federal Court, so we cannot comment at this stage.”
Semenya’s next race is on June 13 in Oslo.