Semenya criticises IAAF testing following release of CAS award

Oleh Ben Spratt 18 Jun 2019 2
Semenya criticises IAAF testing following release of CAS award

Caster Semenya has criticised the IAAF for using her as a "human guinea pig" after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) published its arbitral award following her case.

CAS ruled that the IAAF could implement a regulation that would require Semenya to take medication to lower her testosterone levels in order to compete against women in track events ranging from 400 metres to a mile.

The two-time Olympic 800m champion is awaiting the outcome of an appeal to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland to overturn the ruling.

Yet the release of a redacted 163-page CAS award on Tuesday saw Semenya and her legal team provide a further scathing response.

"The IAAF used me in the past as a human guinea pig to experiment with how the medication they required me to take would affect my testosterone levels," she said in a statement.

"Even though the hormonal drugs made me feel constantly sick, the IAAF now wants to enforce even stricter thresholds with unknown health consequences.

"I will not allow the IAAF to use me and my body again. But I am concerned that other female athletes will feel compelled to let the IAAF drug them and test the effectiveness and negative health effects of different hormonal drugs. This cannot be allowed to happen."

The statement from Semenya's team highlighted the "extremely thin basis" of the regulations they felt were evident in the award, while criticising the IAAF's subsequent actions.

Semenya's team claimed "concerns and suggestions" from CAS regarding the scope of the regulations were ignored, while suggesting an IAAF statement regarding "chosen legal sex and/or gender identity" was "an insult to women like Caster who were born as women and have always been women".

"The IAAF's reactions after the award confirm that it does not deserve the trust that the majority of the CAS placed in it," Semenya's team said.

Meanwhile, the IAAF welcomed the publication of the CAS award, hoping it would "foster greater understanding" of the situation.

A statement read: "Having the arguments of all parties and the detailed findings of the CAS panel in the public domain will help to foster greater understanding of this complex issue and to demonstrate the balance it is necessary to draw between the right for any individual to choose their legal sex and/or gender identity, which the IAAF fully supports and respects, and the need for sport to create and defend a protected category for females, with eligibility for this category based on biology and not on legal sex or gender identity.

"Sport is one of only a few, narrow sectors of society in which biology has to trump gender identity to ensure fairness.

"To define the female category based on something other than biology would be category defeating and would deter many girls around the world from choosing competitive and elite sport after puberty.

"The IAAF considers that the DSD [differences of sex development] regulations are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of protecting fair and meaningful competition in elite female athletics, and the CAS agreed."

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Ben Spratt