Caster Semenya Loses Appeal Against CAS Ruling

South Africa’s Caster Semenya has lost her appeal in a Swiss tribunal against a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that restricts female athletes with higher levels of testosterone from competing without first taking medications to reduce their levels.

Semenya, the double Olympic 800m champion, approached the Swiss tribunal in May last year after CAS had ruled in favour of the World Athletics governing body’s regulations requiring athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD) to have medications taken in order to compete in races from 400m to a mile, or change to their race event category.

“I am very disappointed by this ruling, but refuse to let World Athletics drug me or stop me from being who I am,” said the 29-year-old.

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“Excluding female athletes or endangering our health solely because of our natural abilities puts World Athletics on the wrong side of history. I will continue to fight for the human rights of female athletes, both on the track and off the track, until we can all run free the way we were born.”

Semenya also added: “I know what is right and will do all I can to protect basic human rights, for young girls everywhere.”

A statement from the World Athletics said: “For the last five years World Athletics has fought for and defended equal rights and opportunities for all women and girls in our sport today and in the future.”

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The body also said that it welcomed Swiss tribunal’s decision “to uphold our DSD regulations as a legitimate and proportionate means of protecting the right of all female athletes to participate in our sport on fair and meaningful terms.”

And the Swiss tribunal also concluded that: “Based on these findings, the CAS decision cannot be challenged. Fairness in sport is a legitimate concern and forms a central principle of sporting competition. It is one of the pillars on which competition is based.”

The ruling means that Semenya will not be able to defend her 800m title at the Tokyo Olympics which were initially scheduled to have held this year, but postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Semenya also missed last year’s World Athletics Championship in Doha as a result of the DSD rule change by the Athletics governing body.


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