LAUSANNE – The Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed on Wednesday an appeal from South African athlete Caster Semenya against new international regulations to limit testosterone levels in female middle-distance running.
On April 26, 2018, the International Association of Athletics Federations announced rules that required female competitors for races between 400 meters and one mile to keep their testosterone levels below 5 nanomoles per liter in blood tests for at least six consecutive months leading up to a race.
With the support of her country’ athletics federation, Semenya filed her appeal in June claiming the new guidelines were discriminatory to female athletes who, like herself, have naturally higher levels of testosterone.
Wednesday’s verdict, which was postponed several times, was made public at the CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland, by its Secretary-General, Matthieu Reeb.
In October, a month after the initial date for applying the new regulation, the IAAF suspended its application pending the CAS ruling.
The double Olympic 800 meters and triple 800 meters world champion Semenya had argued the new IAAF regulations aimed to exclude athletes like her from the international competition.
The IAAF expressed the organization’s gratitude to the CAS and announced that its regulations on female athletes such as Semenya are set to come into effect on May 8, 2019.
“(The IAAF) is pleased that the Regulations were found to be a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF’s legitimate aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics in the Restricted Events,” the IAAF said in a statement on its official website.
Meanwhile, Semenya posted to her official Twitter account a photo that said: “sometimes it is better to react with no reaction.”
Following this decision, women who, like Semenya, suffer from hyperandrogenism (high levels of male hormones such as testosterone) will need to receive treatment to reduce these levels or compete with men.
Female runners who cannot lower their testosterone levels below the established limit by using, for example, contraceptives, will still be able to compete as women in other distances.
The IAAF rule excludes women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome.