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Semenya loses appeal over testosterone rules

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

CAS ruled that the 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.

“Such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF’s aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics.”

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 nmol/L within one week.

The media release stated: “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.”

The IAAF 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, 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.

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

Semenya took potential steps to reinvent her career last week when she won the 5000m 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. – Eurosport

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