Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya loses appeal against IAAF testosterone rules

Two-time Olympic champion runner Caster Semenya lost her appeal Wednesday against International Association of Athletics Federations rules designed to decrease high testosterone levels in some female runners.

The Court of Arbitration of Sport’s panel determined that the IAAF’s proposed rules on athletes with “differences of sex development (DSD)” are discriminatory but should be applied. The three-judge panel also “dismissed both requests for arbitration” from Semenya and the IAAF.

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Caster Semenya celebrates after winning the woman's 800m final at Carrara Stadium during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia. 

Caster Semenya celebrates after winning the woman's 800m final at Carrara Stadium during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia.  (AP)

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The panel ruled 2-1 that “on the basis of the evidence submitted by the parties, such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF's aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics in the Restricted Events.”

Semenya, a South African runner who won gold in the 800-meter event in the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio Olympics, will be forced to use medication to suppress testosterone levels to defend her world championship in September in Qatar.

Semenya tweeted a photo with a message on it after the ruling was handed down.

The panel “strongly encouraged” the IAAF to note their concerns when it applies their rules – which judges believe might have to be amended in the future.

“Indeed, it may be that, on implementation and with experience, certain factors may be shown to affect the overall proportionality of the DSD Regulations,” the court said.

The IAAF argued that female runners with high testosterone levels have an unfair advantage, scientifically, in events from the 400-meter race to the mile.

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The judges want the IAAF to apply the rules up to the 800-meter event because the evidence wasn’t clear that women with hyperandrogenism have a competitive advantage in the 1,500M event, which could give Semenya a path to competing in that event in the upcoming world championships.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.