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 of South Africa, the two-time Olympic track champion with a rare genetic condition that 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. 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, 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.
(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.
Caster Semenya wins court battle in her fight to run without hormone suppressants
Caster Semenya won an interim ruling in her battle against the IAAF when the Swiss supreme court ordered athletics’ governing body to suspend its testosterone rules on Monday, raising the prospect of her competing at the world championships without having to take hormone suppressing medication.
The ruling temporarily lifts the contentious rules, at least 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 remaining Diamond League meetings and the worlds in Doha, Qatar, in September and October.
2. IAAF NEW ELIGIBILITY REGULATIONS FOR FEMALE CLASSIFICATION (As of 2018)
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 (ie: whether she is in competition or out of competition) for so long as she
wishes to remain eligible.
These new Regulations, approved by the IAAF Council in March, 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 apply anywhere in the sport.
“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 President Sebastian 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 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 levels of natural testosterone, extending into and even 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 accordingly 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 Bermon from 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 which demonstrates to us in statistical terms a recruitment bias. The treatment to reduce testosterone levels is a hormone supplement similar to the contraceptive pill taken by millions of women around the world. 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
(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, for the benefit of the broad class of female athletes. In no way are they intended as any kind of judgment on or questioning of the sex or the gender identity of any athlete.
On the contrary, the IAAF regards it as essential to respect and preserve the dignity and privacy of athletes with DSDs, and therefore all cases arising under these regulations must be handled and resolved in a fair, consistent, and confidential manner, recognizing the sensitive nature of such matters.
Any breach of confidentiality, improper discrimination, and/or stigmatization on grounds of sex or gender identity will amount to a serious breach of the IAAF Integrity Code of Conduct and will result in appropriate disciplinary action against the offending party.
Athletes, athlete support personnel, and National Federation officials with questions about the application of the new Regulations or requiring advice or support is able to 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 in detail 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
- Caster Semenya Gender Issues (pinoyathletics.info)
- Diamond League: Caster Semenya set for first race since controversial new IAAF rules (scroll.in)
- Optimism high for historic CARIFTA Games medal haul (stabroeknews.com)
- Semenya targeted by new athletics testosterone rules (vanguardngr.com)
3.Caster Semenya to Challenge IAAF Rules
June 18, 2018
South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya will challenge a female classification rule imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) at sport’s highest court, according to her lawyers.
The double Olympic and triple world 800 meters champion faces having to take medication to lower her higher than normal levels of naturally-produced testosterone, which the sport’s governing IAAF has deemed gives 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 levels of testosterone 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 do so.
Controversy has never been far from Semenya, now 27, since her teenage success in the 800 meters at the 2009 world championships in Berlin, where 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
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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. While a number of 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 motivation for the test 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 president of the IAAF 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 advise Ms. Caster Semenya properly”. While 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 to others about having performed the tests.
He ignored a request from ASA team doctor Harold Adams to withdraw Semenya from the world championships over concerns about the need to keep 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, to the extent of being 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, but they did note that the IAAF’s threshold for when 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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