South Africa-Sports-Athletics

S/Africa rallies African support for embattled Semenya

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

South African Sport Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Thursday called on all Africans to condemn the Swiss Federal Court’s decision to deny world champion Caster Semenya her right to compete on the athletics stage unless she took drugs to slow her speed down.

The Swiss court’s Tuesday decision, prompted by Sebastian Coe, the president of the world athletics body IAAF, was “very unfortunate and offensive to the fundamental human rights of female athletes classified hyperandrogenic,” the minister said.


Mthethwa said: “Both the South African government and the global sporting community always held a firm view that these regulations are a gross violation of fundamental human rights of hyper-female athletes.


“We therefore rally behind the appeal by both Semenya and Athletics South Africa (ASA) in their legal tussle with the IAAF.” 


Mthethwa said the IAAF regulations formed solely to prevent Semenya from competitions were not only a violation of human and women’s rights, but their administration was considered unethical by experts in the field of medical science.


“As the government of democratic South Africa, a country renowned for its tradition of promoting and protecting basic human rights, together with Athletics South Africa, we will study the judgment and consider various options and avenues at our disposal in our collective campaign to fight this injustice,” Mthethwa said.


During Human Rights Month in March 2019, all political parties represented in South African Parliament, made unanimous and unambiguous statements condemning the re-classification of the regulation as violations of both women and human rights, and committed their unequivocal support for Semenya.


The support was also enhanced by the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council that classified them as a “contravention of international human rights norms and standards including the right to equality and non-discrimination.”


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