[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Court of Arbitration for Sports have made a ruling that Olympic gold medallist, Caster Semenya and other female track athletes with naturally elevated levels of testosterone must decrease the hormone to participate in certain races at major competitions.
The highest court in international sports made the decision on Wednesday, 1st May 2019 in a 2-1 ruling. They said that “such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means” of “preserving the integrity of female athletics.”
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had argued that naturally high testosterone levels in athletes like Semenya gave them an unfair competitive advantage. They have also given a decree on the maximum testosterone levels for females.
The IAAF argued that female runners with high testosterone levels have an unfair advantage in events from 400 meters to one mile. But the court rules that the new restriction will only apply to races from 400 to 800 metres. They believe the evidence was not clear that the high testosterone levels affect women in 1,500 meters and above races.
However, the 28-year-old South African runner says she will not give up. In a statement, Semenya said,
“I know that the IAAF’s regulations have always targeted me specifically. For a decade, the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger. The decision of the CAS will not hold me back. I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world.”
This new ruling could also affect women in other high power sports. This includes sports like swimming, boxing, weightlifting and soccer where speed, size and power can determine success.
Caster Semenya, who is expected to race in an 800m track event in Doha, is a two-time Olympic champion. To defend her title, she will need to lower her testosterone levels by using prostate cancer drugs or birth control.
Testosterone supplements are against sporting rules. This is because they strengthen bone mass and muscle tone. But some women like Semenya have naturally high levels known as hyperandrogenism. With the new IAAF rules, these women will need to reduce their levels below five nanomoles per litre of blood. Semenya’s testosterone level is, however, undisclosed as it is considered private medical information.
Meanwhile, the Olympic committee and South African Sports Confederation have spoken against the ruling. They think it was “ill-though and will be a source of distress for the targeted female athletes.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]