Caster Semenya appeals for funding to continue legal battle at the European Court of Human Rights

South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya is once again seeking financial support to fund her ongoing legal battle.

Semenya, along with her legal team, is appealing for approximately R3.4 million (about $180,000) to continue her fight at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The Olympic gold medalist won a case against Switzerland at the ECHR last year, challenging regulations imposed by World Athletics regarding the testosterone levels of female athletes.

Caster Semenya looks on during her press conference in Sandton on Friday.

Caster Semenya looks on during her press conference in Sandton on Friday.

However, Switzerland is appealing the decision, prompting Semenya to continue her legal battle at the ECHR’s Grand Chamber, where 15 judges will review the matter on May 15.

Greg Nott, one of the attorneys representing Semenya pro bono since 2009, stated that the estimated costs for this particular case amount to R3.4 million.

The expenses include hiring expert lawyers abroad, including a King’s Counsel.

Semenya’s legal battles against World Athletics have revolved around the regulations requiring female athletes with differences of sex development to lower their naturally occurring high levels of testosterone.

World Athletics argues that such athletes, including Semenya, may have an unfair advantage.

Semenya emphasised that her fight extends beyond her personal situation, aiming to support other women with differences of sex development who face similar challenges under World Athletics’ regulations.

Her legal team contends that the human rights aspect of the matter had not been adequately considered until the case reached the ECHR.

Previous hearings at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the Swiss federal court did not take human rights into account.

Semenya’s career has been marked by controversy since her breakthrough victory at the 2009 world championships in Berlin.

She has faced body-shaming, but she continued to compete and garnered widespread support.

Greg Nott posed the question, “Has dignity not suffered enough? Has Caster not suffered enough? Have people in Caster’s position not suffered enough?”

If the necessary funds are not raised, there may be significant consequences for Semenya’s legal battle. The Commission for Gender Equality has also approached the government for assistance in this matter.

How to contribute to Caster Semenya

Those willing to contribute to Caster Semenya’s legal fund can make donations to the Ahmed Gani Trust Account at Standard Bank, Killarney branch (007205), account number 200297740. The Swift code is SBZAZAJJ, and contributors should use “Caster” as the reference.

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