Semenya Wants to be Back on the Starting Line

by | Feb 25, 2021

Double Olympic gold medallist and three-time 800m World Champion, Caster Semenya, remains hopeful that she will soon be allowed to return to the starting line in the 800m at international competitions as she turns to the European Court in her ongoing fight for dignity, equality and the human rights of women in sport.

Semenya is asking the European Court to find that Switzerland has failed in its positive obligations to protect her against violation of her rights under the European Convenirion on Human Rights as a result of World Athletics continuing discriminatory attempts to restrict the ability of certain women to participate in female athletics competitions.

In a statement released by her lawyers, Semenya says: “I hope the European court will put an end to the longstanding human rights violations by World Athletics against women athletes. All we ask is to be allowed to run free, for once and for all, as the strong and fearless women we are and have always been.”

Last year, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court found that the World Athletics’ regulations violate Caster’s right to physical integrity (among other rights violations) but refused to intervene to protect Semenya’s fundamental human rights.

Semenya’s legal team will argue that the European Court of Human Rights must act to end these human rights violations, which also affect other women athletes, and ensure that international athletes are afforded access to an effective remedy to protect against and prevent such human rights violations.

Earlier this week, the Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture held a meeting and received a briefing on South Africa’s preparedness to participate in the Olympic Games scheduled to start on 23 July 2021.

The Committee heard from President of Athletics South Africa, Aleck Skosana, who said Semenya was not included in South Africa’s provisional squad because of the court matter.

The Committee reiterated its support for Semenya, saying the rules are unfair and they are concerned that this has affected the champion athlete’s preparation.

Papers are expected to be filed in the European Court next month.

 

 

Photo 1 Caption: Double Olympic gold medallist and three-time 800m World Champion, Caster Semenya, remains hopeful that she will soon be allowed to return to the starting line in the 800m at international competitions as she turns to the European Court in her ongoing fight for dignity, equality and the human rights of women in sport. Photo: Supplied

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