Semenya loses appeal against IAAF testosterone rules

 

Caster Semenya lost her appeal Wednesday against rules designed to decrease naturally high testosterone levels in some female runners.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport's panel of three judges gave a complex verdict and "dismissed both requests for arbitration" from Semenya and the governing body of track and field.

In a landmark judgment, the court said the IAAF's proposed rules on athletes with "differences of sex development (DSD)" are discriminatory but should be applied.

The judges ruled 2-1 that "on the basis of the evidence submitted by the parties, 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."

Semenya, a two-time Olympic champion in the 800 meters, will now be forced to medicate to suppress her testosterone levels if she wants to defend her world title in September in Doha, Qatar.

"I know that the IAAF's regulations have always targeted me specifically," the South African runner said in a statement released by her lawyers. "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."

Related: 2018 Olympics: Team USA portraits

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2018 Olympics: Team USA portraits
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2018 Olympics: Team USA portraits
Bobsled athlete Kehri Jones poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She does not listen to while training but listens to pop and rap on race day. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Figure skater Ashley Wagner poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Wagner listens to Beyonce while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Figure skater Mirai Nagasu poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Nagasu listens to pop while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Figure skater Karen Chen poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Chen listens to Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Figure skater Adam Rippon poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Rippon listens to electronic dance music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Alpine Skier Jackie Wells poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to hip hop and rap while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Figure skater Jason Brown poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Brown listens to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Alpine Skier Mikaela Shiffrin poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to "Dark Necessities" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Figure skater Nathan Chen poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Kelly Clark poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to christian music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Alpine skier Laurenne Ross poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to old school rap and indy rock while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Figure skater Mariah Bell poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Bell listens to Beyonce while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Chole Kim poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ice dancers Alex Shibutani and Maia Shibutani pose for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. The pair listens to Coldplay and Perez Prado while they train. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Skeleton racer Annie O'Shea poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. O'Shea listens to J. Lo and Skrillex while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Ice Hockey player Troy Terry poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. He listens to classic rock while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Kenworthy listens to pop music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Bobsled athlete Jamie Greubel Poser poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to pop and rap music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Uhlaender listens to hip hop while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Paralympic Nordic Skiing athlete Oksana Masters poses for a portrait with her medals from Sochi at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to Jay Z and hip hop music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Luge racer Erin Hamlin poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Hamlin listens to alternative music while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Skeleton racer John Daly poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Daly listens to Wake Me while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Bobsled athlete Aja Evans poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to hip hop music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Paralympic Nordic Skiing athlete Aaron Pike poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. He listens to Seven Nation Army by White Stripes while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Luge racer Chris Mazdzer poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Mazdzer listens to 3LAU and Martin Garrix while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Ryan Stassel poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to heavy rock while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Snowboarder Alex Deibold poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to Motley Crew songs while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Nordic Combined skier Bryan Fletcher poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Fletcher listens to Macklemore while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Nordic Combined skier Bryan Fletcher poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Fletcher listens to Macklemore while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Cross-country skier Jessie Diggins poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Diggins listens to pop and dance music while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Short track speedskater Katherine Reutter-Adamek poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Adamek listens to the Chainsmokers and electronic dance music while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. She listens to electronic swing music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. She listens to electronic swing music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Long track speedskater Brittany Bowe poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Bowe listens to electronic dance music while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Paralympic sled hockey player Josh Pauls poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to rap music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Long track speedskater KC Boutiette poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Boutiette listens to Eminem while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Paralympic sled hockey goalie Steve Cash poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to musician Kevin Gates while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Paralympic snowboarder Mike Schultz poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to classic rock music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Skeleton racer Matt Antoine poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Antoine listens to '90s alternative music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Biathlon athlete Lowell Bailey poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. He listens to Steely Dan and old rock while training . REUTERS/Mike Blake?
Luge racers Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman pose for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Mortensen listens to metal and punk, Five Finger Death Punch and Rise Against, while he trains and Terdiman listens to hip hop, People Under the Stairs and Kendrick Lamar. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Bobsled athlete Elana Meyers Taylor poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She listens to hip hop and pop music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Biathlon athlete Susan Dunklee poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. She prefers not to listen to any music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Luge racer Tucker West poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. West listens to pop music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Ice hockey player Jordan Greenway poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. He listens to hip hop music while training . REUTERS/Mike Blake
Skeleton racer Annie O'Shea poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. O'Shea listens to J. Lo and Skrillex while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Luge racer Erin Hamlin poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Hamlin listens to alternative music while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Freestyle skier Ashley Caldwell poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Caldwell listens to alternative rock while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Freestyle skier Morgan Schild poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Schild listens to rap while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Hagen Kearney poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to Motorhead and Black Sabbath while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Freestyle skier Kiley McKinnon poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. McKinnon listens to hip hop and rock music while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Jamie Anderson poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. She listens to 90's hip hop while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Snowboarder Red Gerard poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Chase Josey poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Josey listens to hip hop and punk while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Snowboarder Ryan Stassel poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to heavy rock while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Snowboarder Nate Holland poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to rock music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Freestyle skier Mac Bohonnon poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Bohonnon listens to rap music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Long track speedskater KC Boutiette poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Boutiette listens to Eminem while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Long track speedskater Joey Mantia poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Mantia listens to "Work It Out" by Netsky while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Paralympic Snowboarder Evan Strong wears his gold medal from 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi as he poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to Reggae music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Paralympic snowboarder Brenna Huckaby poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. She listens to pop and rap music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Paralympic wheelchair curler Kirk Black poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to contemporary christian music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Paralympic hockey player Declan Farmer poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. He listens to hip hop music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Long track speedskater Joey Mantia poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Mantia listens to "Work It Out" by Netsky while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Cross-country skier Kikkan Randall poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Randall listens to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Alpine skier Travis Ganong poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 27, 2017. Ganong listens to reggae and rock music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Freestyle skier Maggie Voison poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. She listens to pop and rap music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Figure skating pair Chris Knierim (L) and Alexa Scimeca Knierim pose for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. Chris listens to Metallica and Alexa listens to pop while they train. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Figure skating ice dancers Zach Donohue (L) and Madison Hubbell pose for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. Donohue listens to rock and electronic dance music while he trains and Hubbell listens to Paul Simon and The Who. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Alpine skier Steve Nyman poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. Nyman listens to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Ice hockey player Alex Rigsby poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. She listens to electronic dance music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ice hockey player Meghan Duggan poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. She listens to Beyonce and Rihanna while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ice hockey player Hilary Knight poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. She listens to pop and rap music while training . REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ice hockey player Brianna Decker poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. She listens to hip hop and country music while training. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 26, 2017. Hendrickson listens to podcasts while she trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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The 28-year-old Semenya also posted a statement on her Twitter account shortly after the verdict was announced, saying "Sometimes it's better to react with no reaction."

Semenya was traveling to Doha on Wednesday for the first Diamond League track meet of the season, where she is expected to race in the 800 on Friday. The Diamond League is an annual series of meets for the top athletes in the world, and the Doha event is the last one before the new rules apply.

Still, the CAS panel "strongly encouraged" the IAAF to note its concerns when applying the rules, which the judges believe might have to be modified in the future to be fair.

The Monaco-based IAAF said in a statement it was grateful to the court and would apply the rules starting next Wednesday. That gives affected runners wishing to race at the Sept. 28-Oct. 6 world championships one week to begin medicating and submit to a blood test.

That is a "special transitional provision" because the IAAF rules require women to lower their testosterone levels below 5 nanomoles per liter of blood for at least six continuous months to be eligible for top-level events.

The IAAF went into the case with the scientific argument that female runners with high testosterone levels have an unfair advantage in events from 400 meters to the mile.

However, the judges want the IAAF to begin applying the rules only up to the 800 because the evidence was not clear that women with hyperandrogenism have a competitive advantage in the 1,500.

"The CAS Panel suggested that the IAAF consider deferring the application of the DSD Regulations to these events (1,500 and the mile) until more evidence is available," the court said.

That could give Semenya a route to compete at the world championships without taking medication, such as birth control pills.

Semenya was the bronze medalist in the 1,500 at the 2017 worlds in London. She also won the 1,500 as well as the 5,000 last week at the South African national championships.

In its statement, the IAAF did not say it would follow the CAS judges' advice to delay applying the rules to the 1,500.

A further appeal is possible to Switzerland's supreme court in Lausanne. Federal judges rarely overturn CAS decisions but can intervene if legal process was abused.

Wednesday's verdict followed a five-day hearing in February that was among the longest in the court's 35-year history. Semenya spent the week in Lausanne attending sessions and IAAF president Sebastian Coe was at court on the opening day.

The scrutiny of Semenya's body has cast doubt on the integrity of her track achievements throughout her career.

As a teenager in 2009, she won her first world title in Berlin. Hours before the race, the IAAF had asked for Semenya to undergo a gender verification test.

Semenya's case was the second attempt by the IAAF to regulate DSD athletes at CAS.

In 2015, a panel including two of the same judges who heard Semenya's case suspended the IAAF's first attempt in an appeal brought by Indian sprinter Dutee Chand.

The judges four years ago said the IAAF did not prove hyperandrogenic women gained a significant competitive advantage, and invited the governing body to submit new evidence. The IAAF's fresh scientific study was the basis of rules published one year ago, then challenged by Semenya, and put on hold pending Wednesday's verdict.

Semenya is not the only female athlete with high natural levels of testosterone but has become an unwilling face of the issue.

Two weeks ago, Olympic silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi confirmed she has the same hyperandrogenism as her rival in the 800.

Referring to the rule, Niyonsaba said: "For me, it's about discrimination. It doesn't make sense. I didn't choose to be born like this. What am I? I'm created by god."

Testosterone is a hormone that strengthens muscle tone and bone mass. If injected or ingested, testosterone is a doping product that would risk a four-year ban for a positive test.

Both Semenya and Niyonsaba are likely to run several seconds slower in the 800 if they now medicate. After CAS suspended its previous rules in the Chand verdict, Semenya won a second Olympic title in the 800 at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Her time of 1 minute, 55.28 seconds was more than four seconds faster than her best times in the previous two seasons.

 

 

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