Caster Semenya

Last Updated on April 18, 2023 by Andrew Pirie

Caster Semenya

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 international athletic federations and others say you can’t compete with women. That says you’re not a woman.

Caster Semenya worries about being a woman. She wants to race women’s races. She wants to do that without changing her testosterone.

Leaked genetic test results from Semenya. No copy of the stolen document proves her genetics. She may have hyperandrogenism. She has XY chromosomes and produces more testosterone than most women.

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 testosterone-rich. When the regulators figure it out. If only some sports limit women’s testosterone, it may make sense.

The regulations specify Caster Semenya’s races. targeting her. It implies Caster Semenya has an unfair advantage. Since they don’t know, they’ll make the rules. It only affects those like her who run races. 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.

South African two-time Olympic track champion Caster Semenya increased her testosterone levels.

She lost her final 800m appeal on Tuesday. Next summer’s postponed Tokyo Olympics featured her signature event. Caster Semenya’s testosterone levels are high.

World Athletics won the Swiss Supreme Court verdict. In a controversial case involving biological sex, gender identity, and fair play.

In 2018, the organization mandated that intersex athletes with a disorder of sexual development and both X and Y chromosomes, the standard male pattern, lower their testosterone levels to compete in women’s quarter-mile-to-mile events, which combine 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.


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

Caster Semenya
Caster Semenya

On Monday, the Swiss supreme court ordered the IAAF to suspend its testosterone rules, giving Caster Semenya a temporary victory. She may compete in championships without hormone-suppressing medicine.

The verdict suspends the controversial rules until the IAAF appeals to the Swiss Federal Tribunal, the ultimate court. The IAAF has until June 25.

If the IAAF fails. Semenya’s comprehensive appeal will be heard by Swiss federal judges before the regulations are lifted. That might take years. The 28-year-old South African could run unfettered in her preferred event at the remaining Diamond League events 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 (Athletes 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 the:

(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 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 confidently, 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)

Caster Semenya’s world championship success highlighted gender concerns.

The IAAF’s case handling drew criticism. Retired sprinter Michael Johnson blasted the organization’s response.

South African civic leaders, commentators, politicians, and activists called the scandal racist and an invasion of Semenya’s privacy and rights.

The IAAF denied racism and regretted “the allegations being made about the reasons for which these tests are being conducted.”The federation further stated that the exam was not meant to detect cheating but to discover if she had a “rare medical condition” that gave her an unfair advantage.

“Condition” was hermaphroditism. In a 2009 news report, the IAAF president said the case could have been handled more sensitively. Semenya told South African magazine YOU, “God made me the way I am, and I accept myself.” The magazine made her over.

ASA coach Wilfred Daniels resigned on September 7, 2009, because ASA “did not properly advise Ms. Caster Semenya.” He apologized for not protecting her directly.


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

He lied to Semenya and others about testing.

He refused to withdraw Semenya from the global championships due to worries regarding her medical records.

Semenya hired Dewey & LeBoeuf pro gratis “to make certain that her civil and legal rights and dignity as a person are fully protected” at Makhenkesi Stofile’s suggestion. South Africa made Semenya a cause célèbre after the gender controversy.

Semenya agreed with the IAAF to keep her gold and award money in November 2009, according to South Africa’s sports ministry.

The ministry did not specify if she may compete as a woman. They noted that the IAAF’s ineligibility standard for women is unclear. In December 2009, Track and Field News named Semenya the best 800-meter runner.





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