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Semenya seeks funds to fight legal battle

Publish date: 12 February 2024
Issue Number: 1063
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Litigation

While she hopes to keep fighting international gender rules in court, Caster Semenya says her ongoing legal battle could be derailed by a lack of funds if she doesn’t receive support. Flanked by her attorneys from Norton Rose Fulbright at a media conference in Johannesburg on Friday, Semenya said she had turned her focus towards her human rights court case after hanging up her spikes, reports The Citizen. The former Olympic and world 800m champion essentially retired from competitive athletics after being sidelined again in April last year, having lost an appeal at the Swiss Federal Court in an attempt to have World Athletics rules overturned. Subsequently, however, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found that Semenya had been discriminated against and her privacy had been violated. It also found that she had not been given a fair chance to defend herself. Later this year, the Grand Chamber of the ECHR will hear the referred case, and a victory for Semenya could mean the door will be reopened to continue her fight against gender restrictions placed on DSD (differences of sexual development) athletes. She hoped this would pave the way forward for other DSD athletes to potentially return to the track in women’s events. According to her legal team, who had offered her pro bono assistance since 2009 (along with support she had received from government and Athletics SA), Semenya’s lengthy battle in court had already cost around R30m. She now needs another R3.5m to complete the current leg of her battle. The Grand Chamber of the ECHR will hear Semenya’s case in Strasbourg on 15 May.

Full report in The Citizen

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