Caster Semenya Appeals IAAF’s Testosterone Case Ruling
- Caster Semenya, a two-time Olympic 800 metre champion, filed an appeal challenging the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision to allow the IAAF to regulate testosterone levels among female athletes.
- Under the IAAF’s policy, hyperandrogenous women must take hormone suppressants to lower their testosterone levels in order to compete in certain middle-distance events.
- Semenya will be racing longer distances that avoid the IAAF regulations while the appeal is processed.
On Wednesday, two-time Olympic 800 metre champion Caster Semenya filed an appeal to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland challenging the Court of Arbitration of Sport’s (CAS) decision to support of the IAAF’s regulations on testosterone levels in female track athletes.
The ruling, which was announced earlier this month, permits the IAAF to place restrictions on female track athletes who are hyperandrogenic, meaning they naturally have levels of testosterone that exceed the “normal” limits (anything above 10 nmols/litre).
In order for hyperandrogenic athletes to continue competing in race distances of 800 meters or less, they must lower their testosterone levels to below 5 nmols/litre by way of hormone suppressants and maintain those levels for at least six months before a competition.
Semenya, 28, who is assumed to be hyperandrogenic, has been heavily scrutinised for years by the IAAF, which has argued that the increased testosterone levels in hyperandrogenic athletes offer them an unfair advantage in middle-distance track races – and that may be the reason why Semenya has obliterated the 800-metre field over the past two Olympic Games.
For the South African runner, who spoke out against the CAS ruling in a statement, the IAAF regulations – particularly its enforcement of hormone suppressants – are a violation of human rights.
“I am a woman and I am a world-class athlete. The IAAF will not drug me or stop me from being who I am,” Semenya said in the statement, which was provided to Runner’s World.
Dorothy Schramm of Sidley Austin LLP, the legal team leading Semenya’s appeal, went on to say in the statement, “The IAAF regulations violate the most fundamental principles of Swiss public policy. In the race for justice, human rights must win over sporting interests.”
According to the statement, Semenya is asking the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland to dismiss the CAS decision, which “condones the IAAF’s requirements for unnecessary and unwanted hormonal drug interventions on female athletes despite the lack of any medical protocols and the uncertain health consequences of such interventions,” in its entirety.
While the appeal gets underway, Semenya is planning to compete this June in a 2,000 metre race in Paris, France, as well as in the 3,000 metres at the Prefontaine Classic at Stanford University at the end of the month. According to Sports Illustrated, the runner has refused to take medication to suppress her testosterone levels. However, these race distances are not included in the IAAF regulations.
This article originally appeared on runnersworld.com.