CASTER Semenya finally lost her long legal battle Tuesday against track and field’s rules to limit female runners’ naturally high testosterone levels.
Switzerland’s supreme court said its judges dismissed Semenya’s appeal against a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling last year that upheld the rules drafted by track’s governing body affecting female runners with differences of sex development.
The Swiss Federal Tribunal said CAS ‘had the right to uphold the conditions of participation issued for female athletes with the genetic variant `46 XY DSD’ in order to guarantee fair competition for certain running disciplines in female athletics.’
The ruling means Semenya cannot defend her Olympic 800-meter title at the Tokyo Games next year, or compete at any top meets in distances from 400 meters to the mile, unless she agrees to lower her testosterone level through medication or surgery. She has repeatedly said she won’t do that.
The federal court said it was limited to examining ‘whether the CAS decision violates fundamental and widely recognised principles of public order. That is not the case.’
The federal judgment came more than a year after the two-time Olympic 800-meter champion lost a previous ruling from the same court.
That July 2019 verdict overturned a temporary ruling which had allowed Semenya briefly to compete in the 800 meters at international events without taking testosterone-suppressing drugs.
“After many months of deliberation, the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland has refused to set aside a 2019 ruling against Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),” the court said in a statement.
“The Swiss Supreme Court found that World Athletics’ requirement of subjecting certain female athletes to drug or surgical interventions as a precondition to compete in women’s 400m to 1500m events does not amount to a violation of Swiss public policy,” the court added.
In 2019, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council, which met in Doha, approved rules that require the concentration of testosterone in a female transgender athlete to be less than five nanomoles per litre continuously for a period of at least 12 months prior to being declared eligible.
The previous limit was 10 nanomoles.
Athletes must maintain their testosterone levels below the five-nanomole limit to keep their eligibility to compete in the female category.
“Under the new regulations a transgender female athlete is no longer required to be recognised by law in her new gender but should provide a signed declaration that her gender identity is female,” an IAAF statement said.
(Reporting by news agencies)