The Court of Arbitration for Sport has dismissed Caster Semenya’s appeal over IAAF testosterone regulations.
The regulations will force athletes with naturally-occurring high levels of testosterone to take medication to lower them, if they want to continue competing.
Semenya, a two-time Olympic 800m champion, and Athletics South Africa had claimed the rules were unlawful, but their appeal has been rejected by the CAS
The 28-year-old has one of the various genetic conditions collectively known as differences or disorders of sex development (DSD).
CAS said in a statement on Wednesday: “By majority, the CAS panel has dismissed the requests for arbitration, considering that the claimants were unable to establish that the DSD regulations were ‘invalid’.
“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.
Despite finding in favour of the IAAF, the CAS said its panel “expressed some serious concerns as to the future practical application” of the DSD regulations.
Semenya responded to the decision with a statement which said: “I know that the IAAF’s regulations have always targeted me specifically.
“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.
“I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world.”
Semenya is considering whether to appeal against the decision.
Semenya and other affected athletes hoping to compete at the World Championships in Doha in September will have to start taking medication to lower their testosterone level to below the required level within one week.
That decision is a concession by the IAAF, due to the length of time it has taken CAS to reach a verdict – but in future athletes will be required to have reduced their blood testosterone level to below the stipulated concentration for a period of six months before they can compete.
The proposed regulations will only concern athletes competing in events from the 400m to the mile.
Semenya, though, believes it is “irresponsible” for the IAAF to implement the regulations.
A statement issued on her behalf said she wants the governing body to “to commission a team of fully independent experts to produce an unbiased assessment of the need for and methods of regulation before implementing what she believes are harmful rules that will negatively impact the well-being of athletes around the world”.
It added that “her unique genetic gift should be celebrated, not regulated”.
Semenya has been the subject of scrutiny ever since she burst onto the scene at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, where she won the first of her three world titles.
Aged just 18, she achieved that feat despite the emotional strain caused by international media speculation about a gender verification test, following complaints from rivals about her muscular build.