The Roar
The Roar


Is the Caster Semenya ruling a human rights violation?

South African athlete Caster Semenya has lost a landmark case against athletics' governing body, which is now allowed to restrict testosterone levels in female competitors. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
5th May, 2019

The highly controversial decision handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last week regarding Caster Semenya was always going to spark heated debate and divide opinions.

Is it Semenya’s fault that she was born with a rare condition known as hyperandrogenism, which means that she has both male and female traits?

While her testosterone levels occur naturally, her levels are understood to be many times higher than the normal range for women, giving her extra muscle, speed and endurance.

Shouldn’t women with intersex variations have the same right to dignity and control over their bodies as other women?

To say that Caster Semenya’s case is complex would be an understatement, but it wreaks of double standards by the IAAF and their amended regulations when you take in to account that in 2014 an Indian teenager, Dutee Chand, successfully appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after she was indefinitely banned because of her high testosterone levels.

So now Semenya will be forced to take drugs to lower her testosterone levels if she wants to compete in her preferred 800 metres event – which will prevent Semenya competing as her authentic self – however if she competes in the 5000 metres she won’t have to take drugs to lower her testosterone levels.

Caster Semenya runs.

(Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

It’s sad to think that in the year 2019, we have an outstanding athlete with a genetic gift who is being discriminated against.

Caster Semenya was born a woman, raised as a woman and always competed as a woman, so it’s a violation of her human rights to be forced to medicate to reduce naturally occurring hormones.


With Semenya having already lodged an appeal with the CAS, it will be intriguing to see how it all plays out.

Will it all be resolved before the Athletics World Championships to be held in Doha later this year?

And will Caster Semenya be allowed to compete in the 800 metres as her authentic self?

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