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Unfair advantage or biological specifics? CAS delays pivotal decision on Semenya testosterone case

Unfair advantage or biological specifics? CAS delays pivotal decision on Semenya testosterone case
The future of prominent South African runner Caster Semenya remains in doubt after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) postponed its decision on the much-publicized case regarding testosterone limits in athletics.

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The two-time Olympic champion is aiming to overturn the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) newly-implemented ruling which requires female athletes with a naturally high level of testosterone to medically reduce the levels to be eligible to compete internationally.

The ruling, which should have come into effect last November, requires any female athlete, including those with Difference of Sexual Development (DSD), to have a testosterone level below 5 nmol/L to be approved for international events.

On Thursday, CAS announced it would delay its verdict on the complicated case till the end of April, after both parties presented new materials to the court.

Since the hearing held in Lausanne, Switzerland, from 18 to 22 February 2019, the parties have filed additional submissions and materials and agreed to postpone the issuance of the CAS award until the end of April 2019. No specific date has been set yet,” the CAS said in a statement.

The new regulation doesn’t cover all track and field disciplines, extending to just Semenya’s favorite middle distances – from 400m to 1,500m – prompting the South African runner to complain that the rule was purposely directed against her.

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The IAAF’s decision to prohibit women with high testosterone levels from competing was based on scientific research that shows higher levels give athletes a significant advantage over competitors.

Semenya’s supporters accused the athletics governing body of unfair treatment and discrimination, insisting that female athletes with intersex variations have the same rights as all other women.

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The CAS had been expected to announce its decision on March 26, six months prior the world championship in Doha. Now, with no exact date of the court hearing decided, Semenya risks missing the world tournament. If she loses her appeal, she will be banned from the competition, failing to undergo the required six-month hormone treatment stipulated by the IAAF.

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