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Swiss Court Orders IAAF to Suspend Testosterone Regulations

The suspension of the IAAF regulations is the latest in a line of legal disputes between the South African 800-meter runner and the governing body for track and field

Two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya is temporarily allowed to compete without lowering her testosterone levels, following a ruling by Switzerland’s supreme court.

The court ordered the International Association of Athletics Federations to temporarily suspend their regulations until the organization makes its arguments to the court. The suspension of the IAAF regulations is the latest in a line of legal disputes between the South African 800-meter runner and the governing body for track and field.


In April 2018, the IAAF put in places rules requiring women with higher-than-normal testosterone levels — known as hyperandrogenism — to artificially lower the hormone level in their bodies if they wanted to compete in distance races between 400 meters to a mile.

testosterone, caster semenya
South Africa’s Caster Semenya competes in the women’s 800-meter final during the Diamond League in Doha, Qatar, May 3, 2019. VOA

“This is an important case that will have fundamental implications for the human rights of female athletes,” Dorothee Schramm, the Swiss-based lawyer leading Semenya’s appeal, said after the ruling. Semenya challenged the regulation and ultimately lost her case in the Court of Arbitration for Sport last month.

ALSO READ: S. African Runner Caster Semenya Files an Appeal to Uphold Testosterone Regulations

“Necessary, reasonable, proportionate”

The court then acknowledged that the IAAF regulations were discriminatory, but that the regulations were “necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF’s aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics in the restricted events.”

Following the CAS ruling, Semenya appealed to the Switzerland supreme court. Semenya is still appealing the CAS ruling to get the IAAF testosterone rules permanently stricken. (VOA)



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