Court ruled against Caster Semenya, she must take testosterone lowering drugs

By: Flomo Yarkpawolo

On Wednesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that Caster Semenya, a two-time Olympic champion and the subject of one of the biggest controversies the track and field world has seen, will have to take medications to reduce the amount of testosterone she produces to continue competing with other women.

Semenya, 28-year-old, and the Athletics South Africa had asked the Courts of Arbitration for Sports in Switzerland to overturn regulations by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) that pertained to female athletes with high levels of testosterone. In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of three judges sided with the IAAF, allowing the sport’s international governing body, to maintain its restrictions on athletes such as Semenya, a female competitor who is believed to have an intersex condition that causes her body to naturally produce testosterone at levels much higher than most women.

Semenya’s condition is referred to as Differences of Sex Development (DSD). It’s a term used to describe conditions in which the child’s genetics, hormones, internal organs or external genitalia are atypical. The governing body had sought to require any athlete who has a DSD to lower her testosterone levels to compete against women in the world’s biggest track and field events.

Extensive physical examinations of Semenya had shown that Semenya “is technically a hermaphrodite”. According to medical reports she has no uterus or ovaries. Her vagina is a pouch that leads nowhere, and she has internal male testicles that never descended, but which continue to produce large amounts of testosterone that gives her secondary male sex characteristics such as facial hair, masculine physique and a deep voice.

Lawyers for Semenya, who has dominated the 800m in the last decade, plan to appeal the ruling.

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