South African Olympic champion Caster Semenya is seeking financial support for her ongoing legal battle against regulations mandating female athletes with high testosterone levels to take medication.
Semenya, 33, is preparing for a May hearing at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and emphasised the need for funds to cover expert fees and legal expenses.
“We lack funds. We have a lot of experts that come in that we need to pay,” Semenya stated during a press conference in Johannesburg.
“Anything that you may contribute, it makes a huge difference.”
Semenya, a double Olympic champion in the 800m event, has refused to comply with regulations requiring her to lower her testosterone levels. Despite winning a legal battle against discrimination last July, the matter has been escalated to the ECHR’s Grand Chamber by Swiss authorities supported by World Athletics.
“We all know what this case is all about, it is about the differences in women’s body. And the main goal is to make sure that we protect… these young kids so they can be able to compete,” Semenya emphasised, shifting her focus towards advocacy for young athletes facing similar challenges.
Her legal team, who works pro-bono, estimates costs for the upcoming ECHR hearings to reach about $180,000.
Overall, Semenya’s decade-long legal battle has incurred expenses of around $1.5 million, with fees for experts and lawyers being the primary expenditures.
World Athletics introduced regulations aimed at creating a level playing field in women’s events, but Semenya has been vocal in her refusal to abide by them.
Despite the challenges, Semenya remains determined to fight for the rights of athletes facing similar struggles.