South Africa to appeal Semenya ruling, says sports ministry

Semenya's case has provoked a furious debate across sport worldwide about gender and “hyperandrogenic” athletes, those with “differences of sexual development” (DSD).

Caster Semenya looks on prior to competing in the Women's 800 metres during the IAAF Diamond League event at the Khalifa International Stadium.   -  GETTY IMAGES

South Africa on Monday said it would lodge an appeal after Olympic champion Caster Semenya lost her case challenging new rules forcing female athletes to regulate their testosterone levels.

Semenya's case has provoked a furious debate across sport worldwide about gender and “hyperandrogenic” athletes, those with “differences of sexual development” (DSD).

The decision on May 1 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, means female athletes with elevated testosterone will have to take suppressive treatment if they wish to compete as women in certain events.

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“We'll file the appeal as soon as we possibly can,” Vuyo Mhaga, spokesman for the South African sport and recreation ministry said. “We feel that the scientific information that has been brought has been completely ignored.”

Mhaga said the appeal, to be lodged at the Switzerland Federal Tribunal, would be based on complaints over the judges' past record on similar cases, lack of clarity over how the ruling could be implemented and how the evidence was handled.

“It is not explained how the IAAF (the International Association of Athletics Federations) is going to administer those regulations,” he said.

“We feel that the scientific information that has been brought has been actually completely ignored and we've got a belief that a different court will arrive at a different determination.

“Everything is being done through Athletics SA... they were the ones who were the applicants.”