Caster Semenya

Last Updated on January 4, 2023 by Andrew Pirie

In a world where we have transgender males and females, why would females such as Caster Semenya feel less of a woman because of other people’s insecurities? What logic are they trying to use while discriminating against Caster Semenya?

When lots of people then international athletic federations tell you that you can’t compete with other women. That’s a big message that they don’t consider you a woman.

But it’s not feeling like a woman that Caster Semenya cares about. She wants to continue running races competitively as a woman. And she wants to do it without altering the testosterone her body naturally produces.

Semenya had a genetic test at one point that was supposedly leaked. Since there’s no copy of the leaked document, there’s no proof of her genetics. But it’s believed she has hyperandrogenism. Which causes her body to produce more testosterone than average for females — and has XY chromosomes.

What bolsters that rumor is the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had regulations regarding female athletes with hyperandrogenism. This applied to Indian sprinter Dutee Chand. They canceled those and replaced them in April 2018 with regulations specific to athletes with 46 XY Disorder of Sex Development (DSD) who compete in the races Semenya competes in.[1]

(If you want to see the actual wording, the IAAF’s rules are available to download if you register at the site.)

46, XY disorders of sexual development

Have genitalia that is not clearly male or female. Infants with this condition tend to have penoscrotal hypospadias, abnormal development of the testes, and reduced to no sperm production. Some individuals with 46, XY DSD have fully to underdeveloped female reproductive organs (e.g., uterus and fallopian tubes), while others do not.

Not all elite male athletes in all sports have high testosterone.

Running events are one of the competitions where testosterone is high in men. So, whenever the regulating bodies figure this all out. It may make sense if the testosterone a woman competitor is allowed to have is limited only in some sports and not in others.

But the regulations single out the races Caster Semenya does. which seem to target her. It suggests what they’re saying is they think Caster Semenya has an unfair advantage.,But they don’t know, so they’ll write the rules. So it only affects people like her who run the races she does. Which means just her for now.

Semenya, ASA, and IAAF: Decision

In March/April 2018, the IAAF cancelled its “Hyperandrogenism Regulations”, which had been primarily challenged by the Indian athlete Dutee Chand, and replaced them with the DSD Regulations establishing new requirements governing the eligibility of women with DSD for the female classification in race events from 400m to 1 mile (the “Restricted Events”) at international athletics competitions. The DSD covered by the Regulations are limited to athletes with “46 XY DSD” – i.e. conditions where the affected individual has XY chromosomes. Accordingly, individuals with XX chromosomes are not subject to any restrictions or eligibility conditions under the DSD Regulations.



A ruling by the Swiss Supreme Court appears to have nixed any chance for the South African star to defend her title in her signature event at the Tokyo Olympics next summer.

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya of South Africa, the two-time Olympic track champion with a rare genetic condition, significantly elevated her testosterone levels.

On Tuesday lost what appeared to be her final appeal to compete at 800 meters. Her signature event, at the postponed Tokyo Olympics next summer. Caster Semenya’s natural testosterone levels are far above the standard female range.

The ruling by the Swiss Supreme Court was a victory for World Athletics. The track’s governing body, in a highly charged case about biological sex, gender identity, and fair play.

The organization had passed regulations in 2018 stating that intersex athletes who have a disorder of sexual development and have both X and Y chromosomes, the standard male pattern, would have to lower their testosterone levels to keep competing in women’s events from the quarter-mile to the mile, which combines speed and endurance.

Read the Full Article Here


(CNN)Double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya is turning her attention to the shorter 200m sprint event in a last-ditch attempt to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The 29-year-old South African cannot defend the 800 m title she won for a second time at the 2016 Rio Olympics because she is refusing to comply with new World Athletics regulations that require her to take testosterone-limiting medication.
Those rules apply to all 400m and the 1500m, with Caster Semenya switching to the 200m after failing to impress in longer distance events.


Caster Semenya wins a court battle in her fight to run without hormone suppressants.

Caster Semenya
Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya won an interim ruling in her battle against the IAAF when the Swiss supreme court ordered the athletics’ governing body to suspend its testosterone rules on Monday. Raising the prospect of her competing in championships without having to take hormone suppressing medication.

The ruling temporarily lifts the contentious rules until the IAAF responds with arguments to the supreme court, known as the Swiss Federal Tribunal, to restore the regulations. The IAAF has until June 25 to do that.

Should the IAAF fail to overturn the ruling. The regulations will remain suspended until Semenya’s full appeal is heard by a panel of Swiss federal judges. That could take up to a year or more. Meaning the 28-year-old South African might be cleared to run unrestricted in her favored event in the remaining Diamond League meetings and the worlds in Doha, Qatar, in September and October.


Caster Semenya



The IAAF this week issued new Eligibility Regulations [English | French] for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) for events from 400m to the mile, including 400m, hurdles races, 800m, 1500m, one-mile races, and combined events over the same distances (‘Restricted Events’). 
The new Regulations require any athlete who has a Difference of Sexual Development (DSD) which means her levels of circulating testosterone (in serum) are five (5) nmol/L or above and who is androgen-sensitive to meet the following criteria to be eligible to compete in Restricted Events in an International Competition (or set a World. 


Record in a Restricted Event at a competition that is not an International Competition): 

(a) she must be recognized at law either as female or as intersex (or equivalent);

(b) she must reduce her blood testosterone level to below five (5) nmol/L for a continuous

period of at least six months (e.g., by use of hormonal contraceptives); and

(c) thereafter she must maintain her blood testosterone level below five (5) nmol/L

continuously (i.e., whether she competes or out of competition) for so long as she

wishes to remain eligible.

In March, these new Regulations, approved by the IAAF Council, will come into effect from 1 November 2018 and replace the previous Regulations Governing Eligibility of Females with Hyperandrogenism to Compete in Women’s Competition, which no longer applies anywhere in the sport.

Caster Semenya

Explanatory Notes: IAAF Eligibility Regulations for the Female Classification 

“We want athletes to be incentivised to make the huge commitment and sacrifice required to excel in the sport, and to inspire new generations to join the sport and aspire to the same excellence,” said IAAF PresidentSebastian Coe.

As the International Federation for our sport we have a responsibility to ensure a level playing field for athletes. Like many other sports we choose to have two classifications for our competition – men’s events and women’s events. This means we need to be clear about the competition criteria for these two categories.

Our evidence and data show that testosterone, either naturally produced or artificially inserted into the body, provides significant performance advantages in female athletes. The revised rules are not about cheating, no athlete with a DSD has cheated, they are about levelling the playing field to ensure fair and meaningful competition in the sport of athletics where success is determined by talent, dedication and hard work rather than other contributing factors.”


Most females (including elite female athletes) have low levels of testosterone circulating naturally in their bodies (0.12 to 1.79 nmol/L in the blood), while after puberty, the normal male range is much higher (7.7 – 29.4 nmol/L). No female would have serum levels of natural testosterone at 5 nmol/L or above unless they have DSD or a tumor. Individuals with DSDs can have very high natural testosterone levels, extending into and beyond the normal male range.

There is a broad medical and scientific consensus, supported by peer‐reviewed data and evidence from the field that the high levels of endogenous testosterone circulating in athletes with certain DSDs can significantly enhance their sporting performance. These regulations permit such athletes to compete in the female classification in the events that currently appear to be most clearly affected only if they meet the Eligibility Conditions defined by these regulations.


“The latest research we have undertaken, and data we have compiled, show that there is a performance advantage in female athletes with DSD over the track distances covered by this rule,” said Dr Stephane Bermonfrom the IAAF Medical and Science Department.“We have seen in a decade and more of research that 7.1 in every 1000 elite female athletes in our sport have elevated testosterone levels, the majority are in the restricted events covered by these regulations.


This is around 140 times what you will find in the general female population, demonstrating a recruitment bias in statistical terms. The treatment to reduce testosterone levels is a hormone supplement similar to the contraceptive pill taken by millions of women worldwide. No athlete will be forced to undergo surgery. It is the athlete’s responsibility, in close consultation with her medical team, to decide on her treatment.”


Female athletes who do not wish to lower their testosterone levels will still be eligible to compete in:

(a) the female classification:

(i) at competitions that are not International Competitions: in all Track Events, Field Events,

and Combined Events, including the Restricted Events; and

(ii) at International Competitions: in all Track events, Field Events, and Combined Events,

other than the Restricted Events; or

(b) in the male classification, at all competitions (whether International Competitions or

otherwise), in all Track Events, Field Events, and Combined Events, including the Restricted

Events; or

(c) in any applicable intersex or similar classification that may be offered, at all competitions

(whether International Competitions or otherwise), in all Track Events, Field Events, and

Combined Events, including the Restricted Events.


The regulations exist solely to ensure fair and meaningful competition within the female classification to benefit female athletes’ broad class. In no way are they intended to judge or question the sex or the gender identity of any athlete.

On the contrary, the IAAF regards it as essential to respect and preserve athletes’ dignity and privacy with DSDs. Therefore, all cases arising under these regulations must be handled and resolved fairly, consistently, and confidential, recognizing such matters’ sensitive nature.

Any breach of confidentiality, improper discrimination, and/or stigmatization on the grounds of sex or gender identity will amount to a serious breach of the IAAF Integrity Code of Conduct. It will result in appropriate disciplinary action against the offending party.

Athletes, athlete support personnel, and National Federation officials with questions about applying the new Regulations or requiring advice or support can contact the IAAF Medical Manager.

All contact will be treated in confidence, and if additional support is required, the athlete or her representative may agree on the appointment of an independent ombudsman to assist the athlete in understanding and addressing the requirements of the


The Regulations also outline the process by which an Expert Panel (made up of experts in the fields of endocrinology, gynecology, genetics, and pediatrics) will assess cases in anonymized form. IAAF

  1. Caster Semenya Gender Issues (
  2. Diamond League: Caster Semenya set for first race since controversial new IAAF rules (scroll. in)
  3. Optimism high for historic CARIFTA Games medal haul (
  4. Semenya targeted by new athletics testosterone rules (


Caster Semenya to Challenge IAAF Rules

June 18, 2018

According to her lawyers, south African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya will challenge a female classification rule imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) at the sport’s highest court.

The double Olympic and triple world 800 meters champion faces taking medication to lower her higher than normal levels of naturally-produced testosterone. The sport’s governing IAAF has deemed her an unfair advantage.

Law firm Norton Rose Fulbright said in a statement that the legal challenge would be filed on Monday at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.


Ms Semenya, like all athletes, is entitled to compete the way she was born without being obliged to alter her body by any medical means,” Norton Rose Fulbright said.


The IAAF said its decision was based on peer-reviewed studies and close observation by scientists, which showed that females with above-normal or male equivalent testosterone levels had up to a 12 percent performance advantage over fellow female athletes.


“These advantages (which translate, in athletics, to an average 10-12 per cent performance difference across all disciplines) make competition between men and women as meaningless and unfair as an adult competing against a child,” the IAAF said in an e-mailed statement.


The athletics body added that it was ready to defend the new regulations at CAS if asked to.

Controversy has never been far from Semenya, now 27, since her teenage success in the 800 meters at the 2009 world championships in Berlin. The pure power of her surge to victory sparked question marks about her sexuality.

Testosterone is a hormone that increases muscle mass, strength, and hemoglobin, which affects endurance.

The IAAF rule, which comes into force on November 1, is not directly aimed at Semenya, but she will be most affected by it.

South African media and politicians have rallied to her defense and called the IAAF actions a “witch hunt.


“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.





Caster Semenya marries longtime partner

Gender-row athlete Caster Semenya married her longtime partner in an extravagant ‘white wedding’ ceremony yesterday, which coincided with her birthday, a double celebration she was delighted to share with her fans. While the South African returned home to a hero’s welcome and, upon arrival, handed her gold medal to Violet, also a runner, in tribute to her support.

Full Article Here


Caster Semenya

Jennifer M. Philips

‘Sex Testing’ of athletes started in 1966. In the 1960’s it was devastating when suddenly individuals were told they were not women by virtue of genetics. It was a barbaric and discriminating practice by the IAAF.

Nancy Navalta and Caster Semenya
Nancy Navalta and Caster Semenya Photo Credit:


Caster Semenya Gender test (from Wikipedia)

Following Caster Semenya’s victory at the world championships, questions were raised about her gender.

The IAAF’s handling of the case spurred many negative reactions. Several athletes, including retired sprinter Michael Johnson, criticized the organization for its response to the incident. 

Prominent South African civic leaders, commentators, politicians, and activists characterized the controversy as racist, as well as an affront to Semenya’s privacy and human rights.

The IAAF said it only made the test public after it had already been reported in the media, denying charges of racism and expressing regret about “the allegations being made about the reasons for which these tests are being conducted.”

 The federation also explained that the test’s motivation was not suspected cheating but a desire to determine whether she had a “rare medical condition,” giving her an unfair competitive advantage.

The “condition” was reported to be hermaphroditism. In a 2009 news article, the IAAF president stated that the case could have been handled with more sensitivity.

 In an interview with South African  magazine, YOU Semenya stated, “God made me the way I am, and I accept myself.” She also took part in a makeover with the magazine.

On 7 September 2009, Wilfred Daniels, Semenya’s coach with Athletics South Africa (ASA), resigned because he felt that ASA “did not properly advise Ms. Caster Semenya.” At the same time, he apologized for personally having failed to protect her.


ASA President Leonard Chuene admitted on 19 September 2009 to having subjected Semenya to gender tests.

He had previously lied to Semenya about the purpose of the tests and others about performing the tests.

He ignored a request from ASA team doctor Harold Adams to withdraw Semenya from the world championships over concerns about keeping her medical records confidential.

On the recommendation of South Africa’s Minister for Sport and Recreation, Makhenkesi Stofile, Semenya retained the legal firm Dewey & LeBoeuf, who are acting pro bono “to make certain that her civil and legal rights and dignity as a person are fully protected. Following the furor over her gender, Semenya received great support within South Africa called a cause célèbre.

In November 2009, South Africa’s sports Simple Linksrts ministry issued a statement that Semenya had reached an agreement with the IAAF to keep her medal and the prize money.

While the ministry did not say if she would be allowed to compete as a woman, they did note that the IAAF’s threshold for a female is considered ineligible to compete as a woman is unclear. And in December 2009, Track and Field News voted Semenya, the Number One Women’s 800-meter runner of the year.






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