CAS rules against South Africa’s Caster Semenya

South Africa’s Caster Semenya
South Africa’s Caster Semenya. [PHOTO CREDIT: Sportsnet]

Athletics South Africa (ASA) has described as disappointing the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against their star athlete, Caster Semenya.

In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, ASA said they are deeply disappointed and profoundly shocked that the CAS award is in favour of upholding the new IAAF regulations for female athletes.

The South Africa athletics body said they had initially attempted to negotiate with the IAAF against the implementation of the regulations. But when no agreement was reached, it was resolved that the matter should be ventilated before CAS.

“ASA respects the CAS decision and will now review the ruling and decide whether to consider the option of taking this matter to the Swiss Federal Tribunal within the 30 days as stipulated in the ruling” part of the statement issued on Wednesday night read.

Due to confidentiality constraints, ASA said it was limited in its criticism of the award at this stage.

According to the ruling: “The Panel found that the DSD Regulations are discriminatory, but the majority of the Panel found 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.”

ASA noted that for CAS not to only condone discrimination but also go to lengths to justify it, only undermines the integrity that the body is entrusted with.

“We believe their decision is disgraceful. ASA is however encouraged to take the matter further for the following reasons that include observations raised by CAS in their ruling” the athletics body stated.

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On her part, the woman at the centre of all the controversy, Semenya, has also reacted to the CAS ruling through her legal team.

Semenya alleged that she was the main target of the new law being championed by the IAAF.

“For a decade, the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger. The decision of the CAS will not hold me back,” she said in a statement released by her legal team.

The double Olympic champion went to court to fight rules imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that compel “hyperandrogenic” athletes – or those with “differences of sexual development” (DSD) – to lower their testosterone levels if they wish to compete as women.

The statement said she was “pleased” to note that the three judges admitted that the IAAF’s regulations are “discriminatory against certain women”.

But she was disappointed that they went ahead and concluded that the targeted discrimination was necessary.

“I know that the IAAF’s regulations have always targeted me specifically,” she said.

The statement said Semenya believes that the regulations “will be overturned”, but it was not immediately clear if she will appeal the court’s decision.

She has 30 days to appeal, in a challenge that would be heard by the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

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