South African runner Caster Semenya on Wednesday lost her court challenge against IAAF rules forcing female athletes to regulate their testosterone levels, but judges voiced concern with the application of the “discriminatory” regulations.
Semenya, a double Olympic champion, was fighting measures 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.
A three-judge panel at the Court of Arbitration for Sport said even though the rules are “discriminatory…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.”
But the three judge-panel voiced “serious concerns” about the viability of rules moving forward.
The IAAF said it was “grateful” for the CAS ruling and that the rules — first adopted last year but suspended pending the legal battle — will come into affect on May 8.
“Sometimes it’s better to react with no reaction,” Semenya said on Twitter after the verdict was announced.
But her advocates — which include a global coalition of nations, scientific experts and human rights defenders — are certain to be less restrained.