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 it had “some serious concerns as to the future practical application of these DSD regulations.”
Even though the regulations 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,” the Lausanne-based court said in a statement.
The IAAF insisted the rules were essential to preserve a level playing field and ensure that all female athletes can see “a path to success”.
The verdict is certain to cause controversy, as Semenya was backed by a global coalition of nations and scientific experts who argued that testosterone is an arbitrary and unfair measure for determining gender