Caster Semenya’s lawyers demand testosterone laws are dropped after Olympic snub

The lawyers of South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya have been given renewed hope that the controversial testosterone laws which prevented her from defending her Olympic title will be scrapped.

Semenya, 30, was not able to defend her double Olympic 800m title in the Tokyo Games due to rules prohibiting athletes with differences of sexual development from competing unless they take hormone-lowering medication.

However, World Athletics are now facing calls to cull the regulations after the governing body's own scientists admitted some findings, relating back to a study completed in 2017, were "on a lower level of evidence" and could be "misleading."

And the British Journal of Sports Medicine has now released a correction to the findings, leading to fresh calls for the measures to be eradicated.

In the new report, Stephane Bermon, director of World Athletics' Health and Science Department, and his predecessor Pierre-Yves Garnier, wrote: "To be explicit, there is no confirmatory evidence for causality in the observed relationships reported. We acknowledge that our 2017 study was exploratory.

"With this in mind, we recognise that statements in the paper could have been misleading by implying a causal inference.

"Specifically, female athletes with high fT [testosterone] levels have a significant competitive advantage over those with low fT in 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, hammer throw, and pole vault.

"This statement should be amended to: High fT levels in female athletes were associated with higher athletic performance over those with low fT in 400 m, 400 m hurdles, 800 m, hammer throw, and pole vault."

And Semenya's lawyer Gregory Nott, of Norton Rose Fullbright, has lauded the "significant new information."

Semenya's legal team are currently in the midst of an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights against the restrictions, and Noot said this development would alter the case.

"We will be discussing with our London QC and the whole legal team how to introduce the information into the proceedings," Nott said.

"World Athletics have recently given notice of their wish to intervene in the European Court of Human Rights proceedings and we would hope that they will now support setting aside the regulations.

"It is more than surprising that World Athletics did not reveal this evidence before the recent Tokyo Olympics and allow Caster to defend her 800m title."

Semenya's career, which has seen her notch two Olympic and three world championship titles, has been tainted by controversy ever since she was made to undergo sex testing in 2009 before being cleared to return the following year.

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