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South Africans upset by Semenya ruling

South Africa

South Africans reacted with dissatisfaction on Wednesday (May 1) after the the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed an appeal by Olympic 800-metres champion Caster Semenya against the introduction of regulations to restrict testosterone levels in female athletes.

One supporter said the ruling against Caster is unfair, while others said she needs to be left alone so she can continue to participate in races peacefully and win like she always does.

The court ruled the regulations were needed for athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) to ensure fair competition. The rules cover events ranging from 400-metres to a mile.

The case is likely to have wide-reaching consequences, not just for the future of athletics, but all women’s sport, and has split opinion around the globe.

But while dismissing the appeal, the CAS also voiced concerns about the application of the new International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulations.

The rules mean Semenya and other athletes with DSD hoping to compete at the World Championships in Doha in September would have to start taking medication to lower their testosterone levels within one week.

Semenya has said she does not wish to undergo medical intervention to change who she is and how she was born, and wants to compete naturally.

But her dominance of the middle distances has been labelled unfair by some of her competitors.

The South African will be the most high-profile athlete to be affected by the rules, but others include 2016 Olympic silver medallist in the 800-metres, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi.

Semenya took potential steps to reinvent her career last week when she won the 5,000-metres at the South African Athletics Championships in a modest time of 16:05.97, an event that would allow her to compete outside of the IAAF regulations.


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