Caster semenya’s legal battle nears conclusion in european court of human rights.

The prolonged legal saga of Caster Semenya, the double Olympic champion, reaches its culmination as the highest chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) begins deliberations on Wednesday regarding her challenge against the requirement to lower her testosterone levels to compete.

Semenya, 33, secured a preliminary victory at the ECHR last July, which deemed her a victim of discrimination by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Expressing her hopes for broader implications, Semenya stated, “My hope is that World Athletics, and indeed all sports organizations, will take account of the ECHR’s decision and ensure that the dignity and human rights of athletes are respected.”

Despite being legally recognized as female, Semenya, classified with “differences in sexual development (DSD),” has refused to undergo testosterone-reducing medication since World Athletics introduced regulations in 2018.

In 2019, CAS ruled against Semenya, a decision upheld by the Swiss Federal Court in Lausanne in 2020, emphasizing “fair competition” and the purported advantage conferred by testosterone levels comparable to men.

The ECHR’s ruling last July, while symbolic, highlighted discrimination and privacy violations against Semenya but did not overturn World Athletics’ regulations nor enable her return to competition without medication.

Swiss authorities, backed by World Athletics, appealed to the ECHR’s Grand Chamber, whose forthcoming ruling will carry binding implications but is not anticipated for several months.

Semenya, a decorated athlete with Olympic and world titles, remains excluded from her favored 800m event and faced an unsuccessful transition to the 5,000m distance, not covered by World Athletics’ regulations.

The protracted legal battle has incurred substantial financial burdens for Semenya, who last raced in March 2023 and launched a donation appeal in February to sustain her legal efforts.

Her lawyer, Gregory Nott, revealed that the decade-long legal battle has cost approximately 30 million rand ($1.5 million), primarily attributed to expert and legal fees.

Despite uncertainties regarding her future in competitive sports, Semenya underscores her commitment to advocating for young athletes facing similar challenges, prioritizing the protection of their rights and opportunities.

World Athletics’ revised regulations now mandate DSD athletes, like Semenya, to maintain testosterone levels below 2.5 nanomoles per liter for two years, while removing restrictions on event participation, contingent upon meeting testosterone criteria.