Olympic 800 metres champion Caster Semenya has accused the global athletics governing body of using her as a human guinea pig as it emerged that the IAAF had sought to have her declared a “biological male” in proceedings before sport’s highest court.
The South African was reacting to the full 163-page judgement released by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Tuesday which rejected her appeal against rules that mean middle distance female athletes with a high natural level of testosterone must take medication to reduce it.
Testosterone increases muscle mass, strength and haemoglobin, which affects endurance.
Some competitors have said women with higher levels of the hormone have an unfair advantage.
Last month, CAS upheld the International Association of Athletics Federations eligibility regulations for XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development competing in events ranging from 400 metres to a mile.
The IAAF stated before the five-day hearing earlier this year that DSD athletes such as Semenya should not be classified as “biological males” but, according to the full CAS judgement, it suggested the opposite in court proceedings.
“Despite the CAS’s clear statements about Caster Semenya’s gender, the IAAF has taken it upon itself to decide who is, and who is not, woman enough in the eyes of the IAAF, and to discriminate on that basis,” Semenya’s lawyers said in a statement on Tuesday.
“While the IAAF publicly claims that it is not engaged in sex testing, the CAS Award makes it clear that the IAAF is doing exactly that.
“The IAAF’s regulations are the most recent in a long chain of sex-testing rules that have plagued women’s sport for decades and caused profound harm to women athletes.”
Semenya has hit out at the use of oral contraceptives as one of the methods suggested by the IAAF to lower testosterone levels in DSD athletes, saying her previous forced stint on the medication earlier in her career had been debilitating and the long-term side-effects remain unknown.
“The IAAF used me in the past as a human guinea pig to experiment with how the medication they required me to take would affect my testosterone levels,” Semenya said.