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Testosterone levels Semenya out of World Championships after Swiss court reverses reprieve

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya has been dealt another setback


Double Olympic champion Caster Semenya will not defend her 800-metres title at the World Championships in Doha in September after the Swiss Federal Court reversed a ruling that temporarily lifted testosterone regulations imposed on her, her spokesman says.

Semenya is appealing the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sportexternal link (CAS) ruling on May 1 that supported the regulations of the International Association of Athletics Federationsexternal link (IAAF) which say XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) can race in distances from 400m to a mile only if they take medication to reach a reduced testosterone level. 

The South African athlete has naturally high testosterone levels. 

“I am very disappointed to be kept from defending my hard-earned title, but this will not deter me from continuing my fight for the human rights of all of the female athletes concerned,” Semenya said in a statement from her representative. 

The IAAF said it would only comment once it has read the full reasoning behind the judgement, expected on Wednesday.

+ Why are Swiss judges ruling on the Caster Semenya case? 

Semenya’s hopes were lifted on June 3 when the Federal Courtexternal link granted her a temporary right to compete without medication until it ruled on her appeal. 

The CAS had indicated that requiring athletes with DSD to take medication to lower testosterone levels was discriminatory but was a “necessary, reasonable and appropriate means” to maintain fair play for all. 

The Federal Court’s decision on Tuesday will have wide-reaching consequences for gender politics and science and could set a precedent for all women’s sports, not just athletics.  

Semenya could now appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, arguing a human rights violation.


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