Caster Semenya eligibility appeal begins at Court of Arbitration for Sport

The South African Olympic champion is challenging the IAAF's new entry rules for some female events.

Double Olympic champion Caster Semenya's appeal over her future in athletics is being heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The South African, who won the Olympic 800m titles at London 2012 and Rio 2016, is challenging a decision by athletics' top body, the IAAF, to introduce strict new entry rules in some events for female athletes with hyperandrogenism.

Those rules require female or intersex athletes with the condition, which means they have a naturally-produced higher level of testosterone, to reduce their blood testosterone level below a certain limit for at least six months and maintain that level of blood testosterone if they wish to compete in distances from 400m to one mile.

Semenya's court challenge is being heard over five days, with a final verdict expected by 26 March. This year's World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, begin six months and two days after that date.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe, himself a two-time Olympic champion, told reporters: "The core value for the IAAF is the empowerment of girls and women through athletics. The regulations that we are introducing are there to protect the sanctity of fair and open competition."

Semenya did not speak upon arriving at the court, but her lawyers released a statement before the start of the case, saying: "She looks forward to responding to the IAAF at the upcoming hearing. She asks that she be respected and treated as any other athlete: Her genetic gift should be celebrated, not discriminated against."

The international federation previously introduced similar rules in 2011, but those were struck down by the CAS in 2015 after a challenge by Dutee Chand of India.

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