Semenya takes IAAF’s controversial regulations to CAS

Semenya. Photo: GovernmentZA/Flickr

2016 Rio Olympics. Photo: GovernmentZA/Flickr


By Luca Arfini
Caster Semenya, a South-African middle-distance runner and two-time Olympic champion, will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport questioning the fairness of IAAF´s new rules on women with hyperandrogenism.

This Monday, Caster Semenya, a South-African athlete who is the Olympic 800 meters champion, announced her intention to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to fight the new regulations issued this April by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).

According to Semenya, these rules are unfair to women with high natural testosterone levels, who could be excluded from attending middle-distance races, if they do not undergo medical treatments six months before the competitions to keep the level of testosterone below a certain level.

For the IAAF, women with hyperandrogenism have a competitive advantage over their rivals and therefore they should lower their level of testosterone to be eligible to take part in any international events from 400 meters through the mile.

“Caster Semenya contends the regulations are objectionable on numerous grounds, including that they compel women with no prior health complaints to undergo medical interventions to lower their testosterone levels,” says a written in a statement issued by the South African’s lawyers, Norton Rose Fulbright.

These new regulations, which will come into effect from the 1 November 2018, could threat her participation in the 800-meter race in the 2019 World Championships that will take place in in Doha, Qatar.

“I just want to run naturally, the way I was born. It is not fair that I am told I must change. It is not fair that people question who I am. I am Mokgadi Caster Semenya. I am a woman and I am fast,” Semenya was quoted as saying in the Norton Rose Fulbright statement.

Testosterone is a naturally produced hormone which increases muscle mass and contributes to the production of red blood cells affecting the endurance. Some critics have claimed that the IAAF’s rules have been specifically targeted at Semenya. While hard to prove, Semenya will certainly be facing the consequences of the new regulation.

More information

Find IAAF's new regulations here.
Find the Explanotory Notes of the new regulations here.

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