S. Africa disappointed over CAS ruling on new testosterone rules for female athletes

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-01 22:55:39|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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CAPE TOWN, May 1 (Xinhua) -- The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) on Wednesday expressed its "downright disappointment" at the ruling by Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on new testosterone rules for female athletes.

"We were indeed hopeful that CAS would find the validity of IAAF (the International Association of Athletics) regulations null and void and were unnecessarily discriminatory," the SASCOC said in a statement.

However, the ruling just turned out to be opposite, said the SASCOC.

Earlier on Wednesday, the CAS turned down the appeal by South African female athlete Caster Semenya and Athletics South Africa (ASA) against the IAAF's new hyperandrogenism rules that bar female athlets with high testosterone levels from participating in the women's athletics categories.

In a landmark ruling, the CAS found that the IAAF's new rules for athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) were discriminatory - but 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 protecting the integrity of female athletics in the restricted events.

"We disagree with CAS in the extreme. It is clear from the ruling itself that the application of these rules (in particular for the 1,500 and 1 mile events) remains a source of concern, whilst the athletes' ability to maintain strict compliance with the maximum permitted testosterone levels could well be at issue too," the SASCOC said.

The SASCOC maintains that the rules are ill thought and will be a source of distress for the targeted female athletes.

"This decision marks a massive turning point as it now redefines what a female athlete in particular is," said the SASCOC.

"The question we all have on our minds as athletes is around how these regulations will be applied with equality, parity and fairness in sport," it said.

Last year, the IAAF announced the hyperandrogenism rules which would determine eligibility classification of female athletes with hyperandrogenism to participate in the women's athletics categories and the conditions under which they would be allowed to compete.

Semenya, who is the reigning world champion in the 400m and 800m track, and the ASA made an appeal to the CAS against the rules.

The IAAF insists that Semenya should be classified as a "biological male" and forced to take testosterone suppressants if she is to compete in women's competition.

The CAS findings are disheartening for those who come from a country where human rights are a foundation of their society and have fought hard and for many years for their attainment, the SASCOC said.

"Caster's rights have been trampled on for a long time and it was our hope that this case would bring the matter to an end. It is unfortunate that her and many other women around the world will continue to be subjected to such subjudications and violations, and be deprived of the opportunity to prosper and take the center stage in sport," said the SASCOC.

Also on Wednesday, South African Minister of Sport and Recreation, Tokozile Xasa said her country has requested a copy of the full judgment and will comment further after studying the full judgment.

"Naturally we are disappointed with the judgment, however, we have directed ASA to request a copy of the full judgment. We will study the judgment, consider it and determine a way forward," she said.

The South African government has always maintained that these regulations trample on the human rights and dignity of Semenya and other women athletes, Xasa added.