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South Africa’s Caster Semenya Denied Entry to Race in Morocco

Morocco has banned intersex Athlete Caster Semenya from running the 800 meters in Rabat.

Rabat – The Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation (FRMA) has banned South African Olympic champion and intersex athlete, Caster Semenya from running the 800 meters in Morocco.

She was denied entry into the Diamond League competition, despite Switzerland’s highest court finding the athlete fit to run.

The FRMA, giving no reasons, denied her request to race in Rabat this weekend.

The Swedish International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulations state that XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development can only compete in women’s events at distances from 400m to 1500m if they take medication to reduce their natural testosterone levels.

The IAAF argues that testosterone’s muscle-building capacity and ability to help athletes carry more oxygen in their blood gives Semenya, and others like her, an unfair athletic advantage over other women.

The Swiss Supreme Court (SFT) temporarily lifted the regulations affecting Semenya until June 25. The SFT has the power to further extend the exemption.

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However, the IAAF said, “It should be noted that the Diamond League meetings are not organized by the IAAF. Entry for any athlete into a Diamond League meeting is by invitation only from the meeting organizer.”

“The IAAF continues to comply with the Swiss Federal Tribunal’s order dated 31 May to suspend the [differences in sexual development] regulations in as far as they apply to the appellant,” according to the IAAF.

After being blocked entry to run in Rabat, where the South African won at the meet in 2018, a statement from Semenya’s legal team read: “Caster expresses grave frustration that she has been prevented from competing in the 800m in Rabat, in an apparent violation of the Swiss Supreme Court’s order.”

“She was notified on June 11 that the president of the Moroccan Athletics Federation has denied her participation. Caster is currently seeking clarity on the specific reasons for that decision, and she urges the IAAF to ensure its member federations comply with the law and the Supreme Court’s orders of May 31 and June 12,” the lawyers added.

Semenya, twice Olympic 800 meters champion, considered boycotting the event in solidarity with other athletes who may be affected by the regulations but said she had decided that running was the best form of protest.

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Speaking with the BBC, Semenya said, “No woman should be subjected to these rules. I thought hard about not running the 800m in solidarity unless all women can run free. But I will run now to show the IAAF that they cannot drug us.”