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Caster Semenya Banned From 2019 World Championships

Semenya's ongoing battle to compete hits a major wall.

Image Credit: Getty Images

According to reports, South Africa’s two-time Olympic champion at 800-meter, Caster Semenya, will not be eligible to run her signature event at this year’s world track and field championships.

The decision came after the Swiss court reversed a suspension that allowed the 28-year-old to compete after new IAAF regulations were implemented. It ruled she couldn’t participate in tournaments unless she took medications to lower her naturally-occurring testosterone levels.

“I am very disappointed to be kept from defending my hard-earned title,” Semenya said Tuesday, “but this will not deter me from continuing my fight for the human rights of all the female athletes concerned.”

Semenya’s lawyers said the South African star would continue to fight for her ability to race. Semenya would be allowed to compete if her levels were lowered by hormone therapy, but she refuses.

The International Association of Athletics Federations—track’s governing body—tried to limit the testosterone levels for some female athletes in certain events claiming that those with higher testosterone gain an unfair advantage.

The I.A.A.F won its argument back in May. While the court is aware that limiting testosterone limits is discriminatory, it claims that it is necessary to achieve a level playing field in women’s track.

That ruling that was overturned by the Swiss court in June but was later reversed yet again by Swiss Federal Tribunal.

Semenya identifies as female and has won the 800 meters at the last two Olympics and has three world titles in the event, including the last running in 2017.

The growing attention surrounding this case has brought up the discussion of the policing of black bodies and multiple comparisons to other athletes who otherwise have above-average bodies and aren’t being attacked in a similar matter.

The world championships are scheduled to be run in Doha starting in late September 2019.

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