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Caster Semenya Has History On Her Side

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15.05.2019

Bruce Kidd, University of Toronto

Caster Semenya, one of the world's greatest female middle-distance runners, may be forced to quit the event she has dominated for a decade. After easily winning the 800-metre race at an international meet in Doha on May 3, the South African athlete was defiant in saying she won't comply with new restrictions that will be placed on her at future competitions.

"No man, or any other human, can stop me from running," she said after the race, her first — and possibly last — competition since a controversial ruling by the supreme court of international sport.

Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty ImagesCaster Semenya of South Africa competes in the final of the Women's 800-metre event at the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships.

Her defiant words were in reaction to a horrible ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which denied an appeal by Semenya against the policy of track and field's international governing body.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had previously ruled that female athletes like Semenya who have naturally high levels of testosterone must now take hormone-suppressing drugs to compete in any event between 400 metres and one mile. (There are five such events at the international level.) The court decision means the IAAF rules go into effect May 8.

The IAAF policy is based on bad science, flies in the face of best practice in policy making, overrides human rights and will cause tremendous anxiety, and even harm, among the female athletes in the world, particularly those in the Global South.

Even the Court of Arbitration for Sport cautions that there are serious problems with the IAAF policy, including the potential for harmful side effects that........

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