Semenya loses her appeal case about testosterone rules in athletics

The maximum testosterone value in athletics remains. Olympic champion Caster Semenya did not succeed in having the rule scrapped at the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

So Semenya will have to take testosterone inhibitors to participate in the 800 meters. The South-African has a (inborn) high testosterone level, which makes the difference in strength with other athletes big. She produces three times as much testosterone as an average woman.

Because of the muscle strengthening effect of her high testosterone level, Semenya would have a lot of advantage over her competitors. Since her remarkable entry at the World Cup in Berlin in 2009, where, as an 18-year-old, she almost out of nowhere won the world title in the 800 metres, the South African has been the subject of fierce discussions.

Since 2009, 29-year-old Semenya added two more world and two Olympic titles to her list of achievements, but in 2019 the international athletics federation IAAF introduced a maximum testosterone value for athletes who want to participate in the 400, 800, or 1,500 metres. Semenya’s values are above that limit, so she has to use medication to be allowed to start.

Semenya tried to get the testosterone rule off the table earlier via sports tribunal CAS, but got zero on the petition. She appealed to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, but that also proved her wrong, on which she appealed to the same Supreme Court.

The ruling means that Semenya will most likely not defend her Olympic title, next year in Tokyo. She has repeatedly stated that she will not use medication to meet the requirements of the IAAF. She nowadays focuses on distances for which the testosterone limit does not apply, such as the 200 meters.