ATHLETICS

The longtime standoff between Olympic champion Caster Semenya and track and field’s governing body over issues of gender, hormones and performance in sports reached a pivotal phase on Monday as a key tribunal began hosting a planned five-day hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland, in a case that could have massive repercussions throughout sports.

The two-time 800-meter gold medalist from South Africa came and went from the offices of the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday without addressing reporters after a marathon opening session, but her legal team and IAAF lawyers were still jockeying for position in the court of public opinion.

Both sides acknowledged that the ruling in the case – which isn’t expected until late March – could have huge implications, notably over where to draw the line between the genders and how to ensure fairness in top-tier competition.

Insisting on the need for fairness, the IAAF defended “eligibility standards that ensure that athletes who identify as female but have testes, and testosterone levels in the male range, at least drop their testosterone levels into the female range in order to compete at the elite level in the female classification.”

The IAAF has proposed eligibility rules for athletes with hyperandrogenism, a medical condition in which women may have excessive levels of male hormones. Semenya wants to overturn those rules.

TENNIS

WTA: Serena Williams has returned to the top 10 in the tennis rankings for the first time since taking a break to have her first child.

Williams had dropped to 491st by the time she returned to competition in March 2018 but is up to No. 10 after reaching two Grand Slam finals since, losing to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon and Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open.

Williams hasn’t played since her quarterfinal loss to Karolina Pliskova at last month’s Australian Open, but still overtook Caroline Wozniacki. The Danish player’s points from reaching last year’s Doha semifinals expired this week.

Osaka remains at the top of the rankings. Simona Halep is second and Sloane Stephens is third, while Petra Kvitova dropped to fourth.

FOOTBALL

NFL: The Jacksonville Jaguars exercised a $12 million option on Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell for 2019.

The team also picked up options on defensive end Lerentee McCray and backup safety Cody Davis.

Campbell signed a four-year, $60 million contract with Jacksonville in March 2017. The deal included $30 million guaranteed. He made the Pro Bowl in both seasons with the Jaguars, totaling 139 tackles, 25 sacks and four forced fumbles.

Prosecutors say Cincinnati Bengals running back Mark Walton is facing a marijuana possession charge in Florida.

SOCCER

FA CUP: Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba scored first-half goals as Manchester United defeated Chelsea 2-0 in London to advance to the quarterfinals for the fifth straight season.

United has lost just once in 13 games under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

FENCING

FRANCE: It’s now easier than ever in France to act out “Star Wars” fantasies. The country’s fencing federation has officially recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport, granting George Lucas’ iconic weapon the same status as the foil, epee and sabre – the traditional blades used at the Olympics.


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