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Athletics SA left dumbfounded at CAS ruling on Semenya

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Cape Town – Athletics South Africa (ASA) says it is “disappointed and shocked” at the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) decision to uphold the new International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules forcing female athletes to regulate their testosterone levels.

The decision by CAS means that women with elevated testosterone will have to take suppressive treatment if they wish to compete against women in certain events.

In a 2-1 decision, CAS judges on Wednesday dismissed South African athlete Caster Semenya’s appeal against the measures imposed by the IAAF that compel “hyperandrogenic” athletes – or those with “differences of sexual development” (DSD) – to artificially lower their testosterone levels.

ASA criticised the decision via a press statement, saying the ruling from CAS was “discriminatory” and “disgraceful”.

The local athletics governing body added that it was considering taking the matter further at the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

The full ASA statement reads as follows:

Athletics South Africa (ASA) has received the ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and we are deeply disappointed and profoundly shocked that the CAS award is in favour of upholding the new IAAF regulations for female athletes.

ASA had initially attempted to negotiate with the IAAF against the implementation of the regulations but when no agreement was reached, it was resolved that the matter should be ventilated before CAS.

ASA respects the CAS decision and will now review the ruling and decide whether to consider the option of taking this matter to the Swiss Federal Tribunal within the 30 days as stipulated in the ruling. Due to confidentiality constraints, ASA is limited in its criticism of the award at this stage.

We are however reeling in shock at the how a body held in high esteem like CAS can endorse discrimination without flinching.

According to their ruling: “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.”

South Africa knows discrimination better and CAS has seen it fit to open the wounds of apartheid a system of discrimination condemned by the whole world as a crime against humanity.

For CAS not to only condone discrimination but also go to lengths to justify it, only undermines the integrity that this body is entrusted with. We believe their decision is disgraceful.

ASA is however encouraged to take the matter further for the following reasons that include observations raised by CAS in their ruling:

a. The award is not an unanimous award as two judges against one voted in favour of IAAF;

b. CAS noted the difficulty to rely on concrete evidence of actual (in contrast to theoretical) significant athletic advantage by a sufficient number of 46 XY DSD athletes in the 1 500m and 1 mile events.

(Source: News24)

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