Semenya appeals for financial assistance to finance case before ECHR

Semenya appeals for financial assistance to finance case before ECHR

South African athlete Caster Semenya, a double Olympic champion who is barred from competing in some races because she refuses to undergo treatment to reduce her testosterone levels, appealed for help on Friday to finance her legal battle against this regulation.

"We don't have enough money. We have a lot of experts with us that we have to pay," Semenya said in a press conference in Johannesburg, noting that her next hearing at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is scheduled for May 15.

"Anything you can contribute will make a huge difference," she added.  Her South African lawyers, who are assisting her pro bono, said the cost of the hearing could reach 170,000 euros (£145,000; $198,000). "It's completely ridiculous. That is why we are appealing to the public," said her lawyer Gregory Nott.

 Semenya has a natural excess of male sex hormones but has always been legally identified as a woman.

She has been battling the World Athletics for more than a decade, relentlessly demanding that her "dignity and human rights" be respected.

The Grand Chamber of the ECHR agreed in November to examine the case of the double Olympic 800m champion (2012, 2016).

The 33-year-old athlete had won a lengthy legal battle in July when the ECHR ruled in her favour at first instance against Switzerland, finding that she had been the victim of discrimination.

However, the Swiss authorities, backed by World Athletics, announced their intention to take the case to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR, which acts as an appeal court and whose decisions are final.

The initial decision was made by a narrow majority of four judges to three.