Caster Semenya won the Olympic 800m title twice and the world title three times

Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against the restriction of testosterone levels in female runners.

Semenya is not allowed to compete in events between 400m and one mile without taking testosterone-lowering drugs, following a rule change in 2019 by governing body World Athletics.

The 30-year-old South African lost a call before the Swiss Federal Court in September, but still holds out hope of defending his Olympic title in Tokyo this year.

“All we ask is to be able to run free, once and for all, as the strong, fearless women that we are and have always been,” she said.

His lawyers will argue that Switzerland failed in its obligations to protect against the violation of his rights.

Athletics’ governing body has established a rule that athletes with differences in sex development (DSD) must either take medication to compete in 400m-mile track events or move to another distance.

Athletes with DSD have higher levels of natural testosterone, which World Athletics says gives them a competitive edge.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected a Semenya challenge against the rule in 2019.

The Swiss Supreme Court then temporarily suspended the decision, before later reversing its decision.

That meant Semenya, who won Olympic gold in the 800m in 2012 and 2016, missed the chance to defend his 800m world title in Doha, after failing to prevent the governing body from changing its rule.

In a statement released after the Swiss decision in September, World Athletics said: “For the past five years, World Athletics has fought and defended equal rights and opportunities for all women and girls in our sport, today and in the future.

“We therefore welcome today’s decision by the Swiss Federal Tribunal to uphold our DSD regulations as a legitimate and proportionate means of protecting the right of all female athletes to participate in our sport under fair and meaningful conditions. .”

The Swiss Supreme Court said: “Fairness in sport is a legitimate concern and constitutes a central principle of sports competition. It is one of the pillars on which competition is based.”

In March 2020, Semenya stated that she wants to run the 200m in Tokyo, a distance for which she would not need to take medication.

To be eligible to compete, she would need to run a qualifying time of 22.80 seconds, although her current best time is 23.49 seconds.

A statement from Semenya’s lawyers, Norton Rose Fulbright, said Thursday: “While the timing of the application remains to be determined by the court, Caster remains hopeful that she will soon be allowed to return to the starting line of the 800m at international competitions.”