Advertisement

Caster Semenya's Appeal Over Testosterone Rules Dismissed

Caster Semenya's challenge of IAAF regulations restricting testosterone levels in female athletes has been dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Olympic 800-metres champion Semenya has had an appeal dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to halt the introduction of regulations to limit testosterone in female athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs).

CAS ruled on Wednesday that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulations are needed to ensure fair competition between athletes who compete in events ranging from 400-metres to a mile, previously calling the hearing one of the most important ever to appear before the court.

Semenya arrives with her lawyer Gregory Nott (R) for the first day of her hearing at the international Court of Arbitration for Sport. Image: AAP

It means that Semenya and other affected athletes hoping to compete at the World Championships in Doha in September would have to start taking medication to lower their testosterone level to below the required five (5) nmol/L within one week.

It is a special concession made by the IAAF due to the length of time it has taken CAS to reach a verdict.

However, in future, athletes will be required to have reduced their blood testosterone level to below the stipulated concentration for a period of six months before they can compete.

Matthieu Reeb, General Secretary of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) speaks to journalists during the release of the decision in the case of South Africa's runner Caster Semenya. Image: AAP

According to a media release, "The Panel found that the DSD Regulations are discriminatory, but the majority of the Panel found that, on the basis of the evidence submitted by the parties, such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF's aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics in the Restricted Events.

"By majority, the CAS Panel has dismissed the requests for arbitration considering that the Claimants were unable to establish that the DSD Regulations were 'invalid'."

However, the CAS Panel expressed some serious concerns as to the future practical application of these DSD Regulations.

Image: AAP

"I know that the IAAF's regulations have always targeted me specifically," Semanya said, after her appeal was dismissed.

"For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger. The decision of the CAS will not hold me back.

"I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world."

Her case is likely have wide-reaching consequences, not just for the future of athletics, but all women's sport, and has split opinion around the globe.

The IAAF, who welcomed the CAS decision, believe the regulations are necessary to "preserve fair competition in the female category", and have received a large amount of support from current and former athletes.

Image: AAP

But the governing body has also come in for criticism from human rights organisations over their wish to medically alter naturally produced levels of testosterone, with the United Nations Human Rights Council adopting a resolution in support of Semenya in March.

READ MORE: What It Takes To Make TIME Magazine's Influential 100 List

The South African will be the most high-profile athlete to be affected, but others include 2018 Olympic silver medallist in the 800-metres, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi.

Semenya took potential steps to reinvent her career last week when she won the 5,000-metres at the South African Athletics Championships in a modest time of 16:05.97, an event that would allow her to compete outside of the IAAF regulations.