The fight for Caster Semenya’s right to race has started in earnest with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirming the South African has lodged papers in her fight against the IAAF’s new female classification regulations.
The new International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rule, to be implemented in November, was set to require women who produced natural testosterone levels of more than five nanomoles to either take medication to reduce it, compete in a different event or quit the sport.
The IAAF said on Tuesday that CAS had informed the organisation it had received a request for arbitration in which Semenya asked for the rules to be set aside.
The global athletics body said it was ready to defend the regulations and awaited further information.
This followed a statement from Semenya’s lawyers on Monday in which they said their client was “entitled to compete the way she was born without being obliged to alter her body by any medical means”.
Semenya spoke for the first time since the amended rules were introduced in April, stating that she preferred not to speak about the new regulations.
“I am very upset that I have been pushed into the public spotlight again,” Semenya said.
“I just want to run naturally, the way I was born. It is not fair that I am told I must change. It is not fair that people question who I am.
“I am Mokgadi Caster Semenya. I am a woman and I am fast.”
Semenya’s lawyers said the legal challenge was not only to defend her right to compete, but that of all women.
Her legal team argued that the regulations were “discriminatory, irrational, unjustifiable” while further legitimising discrimination against women in sport that did not fit into the established ideas about femininity.