Semenya loses landmark testosterone case
South African middle distance ace Caster Semenya loses landmark case against IAAF meaning controversial plans to restrict testosterone levels in women gets go ahead as CAS say: 'It is a necessary and reasonable means of preserving female athletics' integrity'
ATHLETICS | South African middle distance ace Caster Semenya has lost a landmark case against rules regulating testosterone in female athletes.
Semenya, a double Olympic champion who has dominated 800m running in the last decade, fought regulations imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) which aimed to compel ‘hyperandrogenic’ athletes — or those with ‘differences of sexual development’ (DSD) — to lower their testosterone levels if they wished to compete as women.
The IAAF argued that the rules were essential to preserve a level playing field to ensure all female athletes can see “a path to success.”
Semenya’s cause has earned widespread support, including from a global coalition of nations and scientific experts who argue that testosterone is an arbitrary and unfair measure for determining gender.
But CAS said in a statement on Wednesday: “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.”
Semenya, who fought the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, in February, responded on social media to the ruling with a tweet which read: “Sometimes it’s better to react with no reaction.”
— Caster Semenya (@caster800m) May 1, 2019
Victory for the IAAF has rendered a revolutionary, and for many unpalatable, change unnecessary.
To continue competing as a woman in any running event between the 400m and the mile, female athletes such as Semenya must now take testosterone suppressants like the contraceptive pill to stay under the permitted level.
Central to the IAAF’s case, Sportsmail understands, was the blood data of DSD athletes when they have competed with and without testosterone suppressants.
In 2015, IAAF was forced to abandon their ruling on hyperandrogenism because CAS concluded there was a lack of evidence to prove testosterone increased female athletic performance and was therefore unjustifiably discriminatory.
But on this occasion the IAAF used data from the athletes who competed while taking suppressants when the rule was in place, in a bid to prove levels of testosterone almost on a par with men do provide a significant advantage over women with normal female levels of the hormone.
Agencies | Daily Mail, UK