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Middle-distance track runner Caster Semenya has endured plenty of scrutiny about her genetic makeup and sexual identity for the duration of her career. The South African runner lost a legal battle against the IAFF regarding her testosterone levels and has been ordered to have them lowered to compete.

The Guardian reports:

The South African 800m Olympic champion Caster Semenya has lost her landmark legal case against athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, in a decision that will send shockwaves through sport.

It means Semenya will have to take medication to reduce her testosterone if she wants to run internationally at events between 400m and a mile. The surprise verdict, which was announced by the court of arbitration for sport after three arbitators had spent more than two months deliberating over the complex and highly contentious case, came even though Cas agreed that the IAAF’s policy was “discriminatory” to athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) such as Semenya.

However two of three arbitrators accepted the IAAF’s argument that high testosterone in female athletes confers significant advantages in size, strength and power from puberty onwards, and said the policy was “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” to ensure fair competition in women’s sport.

In short, Semenya will need to lower her testosterone levels to to below five nmol/L if she wants to compete in any competition in the middle-distance category. She intends to appeal the decision.

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