Caster Semenya loses case against IAAF over testosterone levels

This means Caster Semenya will have to take medication to reduce her testosterone if she wants to keep running on the international stage.

South Africa's Olympic champion Caster Semenya has long raised controversy because of her powerful physique and deep voice related to hyperandrogenism, the medical condition which causes a person to produce high levels of male sex hormones.   -  Reuters

Caster Semenya, a triple World champion in 800m, has lost her case against athletics’ governing body, the IAAF. This means she will have to take medication to reduce her testosterone if she wants to keep running at the international stage.

The CAS, in a press release, said, "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”. 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."

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The DSD athletes (Difference of sexual development) are required to bring their testosterone levels in line with their competitors. The rule is applicable in women's running events ranging from 400 metres to the mile. The exact limit will be five nanomoles of testosterone per litre of blood.

The CAS panel “strongly encouraged” the IAAF to note its concerns when it applies the rules which the judges believe might have to be modified in future to be fair.

“Indeed, it may be that, on implementation and with experience, certain factors may be shown to affect the overall proportionality of the DSD Regulations,” the court said.

The IAAF went into the case with the scientific argument that female runners with high testosterone levels have an unfair advantage in events from 400 meters to the mile.

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“The CAS Panel suggested that the IAAF consider deferring the application of the DSD Regulations to these events (1,500 and the mile) until more evidence is available,” the court said.

That could give Semenya a route to compete at the world championships without taking medication. She was the bronze medalist in the 1,500 at the 2017 worlds in London.

The International Association of Athletics Federations, last year,  introduced controversial new rules for female athletes who have high testosterone levels in a move that was seen to target South Africa’s double Olympic 800m champion  Semenya.

The new rules allow such athletes to compete only if they take medication to reduce naturally occurring levels of testosterone.

Semenya has long raised controversy because of her powerful physique and deep voice related to hyperandrogenism, the medical condition which causes a person to produce high levels of male sex hormones.

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Semenya, a triple World champion over 800m and who completed the 800-1500 double at the Commonwealth Games, had responded to the new rules on Twitter: “I am 97 per cent sure you don’t like me but I’m 100 per cent sure I don’t care.”

The IAAF has for years struggled to create a “level playing field” for female athletes while respecting Semenya's rights.

Indian sprinter Dutee Chand had won her appeal against hyperandrogenism restrictions in 2015.

(With inputs from AP)