Michael Johnson says Semenya ruling about 'fairness'

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 1, 2019 - Duration: 01:04s

Michael Johnson says Semenya ruling about 'fairness'

Retired Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson on Wednesday said that the ruling to force South Africa's Caster Semenya, a double Olympic 800-meters champion, to take testosterone blockers in order to compete, is about "the fairness of sport so there is a level playing field." Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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Michael Johnson says Semenya ruling about 'fairness'

ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Retired Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson on Wednesday said that a court's ruling to force South Africa's Caster Semenya, a double Olympic 800-meters champion, to take testosterone blockers in order to compete, is about "the fairness of sport so there is a level playing field." "Through no fault of her own, she just has this condition.

But at the end of the day, the IAAF has to make a decision," Johnson said during an unrelated interview on Wednesday about his surviving a recent stroke.

Semenya has 30 days to challenge the decision to dismiss her appeal against restrictions being placed on female athletes with elevated levels of testosterone - but the timescale for choices over her career direction is far shorter.

On Wednesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the double Olympic 800-meters champion's bid to throw out rules introduced by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to force those with differences of sexual development (DSDs) to take testosterone blockers if they want to run in world-class races from 400 meters to a mile.

The 28-year-old South African can appeal the CAS ruling at the Swiss Federal Tribunal within 30 days, and she might well take that option.

Some observers suggest she might then contemplate taking the case to the European Court of Justice.

But in the meantime, the IAAF says that if she wants to defend her 800m title at the world championships in Doha in September, Semenya needs to start taking medication immediately to show significant change within seven days and then maintain it below a set level continuously.

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