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After Court Overturns Ruling, Semenya Won't Defend Title

Athlete has pledged to stop taking testosterone-suppressing drugs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 30, 2019 11:27 PM CDT
Updated Jul 31, 2019 12:03 AM CDT
In this Friday, May 3, 2019 photo, South Africa's Caster Semenya crosses the line to win the gold in the women's 800-meter final during the Diamond League in Doha, Qatar.   (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
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(Newser) – Caster Semenya won't defend her title in the 800 meters at the world championships this fall after a Swiss court overturned a temporary ruling that allowed her to compete in international events without taking testosterone-suppressing drugs. Semenya is locked in a court battle with the IAAF, track and field's governing body, over rules that require her to take the drugs to counter her naturally high testosterone levels. On Tuesday, a judge from the Swiss Federal Supreme Court reversed a June ruling that had temporarily thrown out the IAAF regulations upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport while her appeal is pending, the AP reports. Semenya, a 28-year-old from South Africa, was legally classified as female at birth and has identified as female her whole life.

She was born with the typical male XY chromosome pattern and a condition that results in male and female biological characteristics and testosterone higher than the typical female range. The IAAF has argued that athletes with her condition are "biologically male," an assertion that Semenya calls "deeply hurtful." "I am very disappointed to be kept from defending my hard-earned title, but this will not deter me from continuing my fight for the human rights of all of the female athletes concerned," Semenya said in a statement. She is a two-time Olympic champion in the 800, including in 2012 when she was taking hormone suppressants, which she said had side effects including weight gain, nausea, fevers, and abdominal pain. Tuesday's ruling means she cannot compete in events ranging from the 400 to the mile. The world championships are Sept. 28-Oct. 6 in Doha, Qatar.

(Read more Caster Semenya stories.)

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