South African Olympic champion Caster Semenya on Wednesday lost her appeal against rules designed to decrease naturally high testosterone levels in some female runners.
The complex verdict by the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s three-judge panel “dismissed both requests for arbitration” from Semenya and the governing body of track and field.
In a landmark decision, the court said the IAAF’s proposed rules on athletes with “differences of sex development (DSD)” are discriminatory but should be applied.
“I know that the IAAF’s regulations have always targeted me specifically,” the South African runner said in a statement released by her lawyers. “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.”
Semenya, 28, also posted a statement on her Twitter account shortly after the decision was announced, saying, “Sometimes it’s better to react with no reaction.”
The judges ruled 2-1 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.”
Testosterone is a hormone that strengthens muscle tone and bone mass. If injected or ingested, testosterone is a doping product that would risk a four-year ban for a positive test.
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Semenya, Olympic champion in the 800 metres, will now be forced to medicate to suppress her testosterone levels if she wants to defend her world title in September in Doha, Qatar.
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