Athletics South Africa label Semenya ruling “disgraceful”

The discrimination was “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” to protect “the integrity of female athletics”. – CAS
Caster Semenya
(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 18, 2019 South African 800 meters Olympic champion Caster Semenya arrives for a landmark hearing at the Court of Arbitration (CAS) in Lausanne. – The world’s sports court will decide on May 1, 2019 on South African runner Caster Semenya’s challenge against rules regulating testosterone in female athletes, a verdict expected to have a profound impact on the future of women’s sport. Semenya, a double Olympic champion, is fighting regulations imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that compel “hyperandrogenic” athletes — or those with “differences of sexual development” (DSD) — to lower their testosterone levels if they wish to compete as women. (Photo by Harold CUNNINGHAM / AFP)

Athletics South Africa (ASA) says it is “reeling in shock” after Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya lost a landmark case against World athletics’ governing body the IAAF.

The 28 year old South African challenged new IAAF rules which attempt to restrict testosterone levels in female runners at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The court announced on Wednesday that it had rejected the appeal.

ASA said the decision “goes to lengths to justify” discrimination and labelled the decision “disgraceful”. It said by justifying discrimination, CAS had “seen it fit to open the wounds of apartheid” – the South African political system which enforced white rule and racial segregation until 1991 – which it pointed out was “condemned by the whole world as a crime against humanity”.

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CAS found the rules for athletes with disorders of sex development (DSD), like Semenya, were discriminatory – but that the discrimination was “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” to protect “the integrity of female athletics”.

Semenya, a multiple Olympic, World and Commonwealth champion, is still eligible to compete at the Diamond League meet in Doha on Friday and can make an appeal against the CAS ruling to the Swiss Tribunal Courts within the next 30 days.

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