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Athletics Star Caster Semenya Told To ‘Lower Testosterone’ If She Wants To Compete As A Female, World Is Fuming

Okay friends, prepare yourself – because this is a bit of a mouthful, and it’s pretty controversial, too. The highest court in the sporting industry, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, has ruled that female athletes with abnormally high testosterone levels are ‘discriminatory’ yet necessary to maintain a fair and equal competition.

South African track runner, Caster Semenya, and a number of other emerging South African athletes asked that the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn any regulations by the International Association of Athletics Foundation (IAAF) that forced athletes to lower their high, albeit natural, testosterone levels to a prescribed and ‘fair’ amount.

The regulation is intended to maintain a competitive yet ‘equal’ playing field, yet Semenya has fast become the IAAF’s target in recent months due to her abnormally high levels of testosterone that rival the average males’. It’s pretty crazy when you think about it, considering she is female. It just feels wrong, and a massive kick in the guts to women who are born with slightly different traits (for goodness sake, who isn’t born slightly different as a whole?!).

The IAAF recommends Semenya, and other female athletes, take hormonal contraceptives in order to suppress the male sex hormone if they wish to compete in any track and field events in the future. It’s a landmark case and decision, potentially for all the wrong reasons – with social media absolutely in uproar.


Semenya attempted to appeal the regulations and in what has been duped a ‘surprise verdict’, devastatingly lost. The case has been highly contentious and has stirred a lot of controversy across the globe, with many left wondering why a governing body so hell bent on cracking down on drug taking is recommending the opposite. Whist there are proponents for the regulation, many argue that the ruling fails to recognise other characteristics that make a sporting star a champion; like dedication, intensity, ferocity and enduring motivation.

In relation to the associated health risks, it’s thought that hormone treatment for athletes with ‘differences in sexual development’ could be harmful and potentially negative – especially in the case of lifelong consumption.

But you have to ask the question – who gets to determine how female you are?

Source: @GoddessLethabo Twitter, @NPR Twitter, @slondonuk Twitter

Written by Kiah Frankel

Kiah is a lover of anything to do with brunch, the outdoors and all types of wine and cheese combinations.

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