Caster ruling: 'They recognised the discrimination, but felt it necessary'

South African athlete Caster Semenya's challenge against the International Association of Athletics Federations rules forcing her to lower her testosterone levels to compete with women has been rejected.

Read: Caster Semenya on CAS ruling: 'I will once again rise above'

The Court of Arbitration for Sport issued its ruling on Wednesday.

Also read: 'There are no two ways about it, we will appeal this Caster judgment'

It means Semenya will have to take medication to suppress her testosterone if she wants to keep running in certain events on the international stage.

To weigh in on the judgment, Sports medicine scientist Dr Shuaib Manjra speaks to 702's Bongani Bingwa.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport released its findings yesterday, and it was a two-page finding, but there is a 138-page judgment, so we have to read the reasonings and the signs that they have used to conclude the way that they have and then we will get a better understanding.

Dr Shuaib Manjra, Sports medicine scientist

They are saying if she wants to compete, then she must fight on an equal footing, and for her to compete on a similar level, she must reduce her testosterone level, so it doesn't give her an unfair advantage. That is the reasoning why they want her to lower her testosterone.

Dr Shuaib Manjra, Sports medicine scientist

He says the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) relied on two scientific papers which other scientists around the world argue are deeply flawed.

And that was the evidence that was presented to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, we don't know how the court rates both sets of evidence, but clearly, those two-page findings demonstrated a significant advantage.

Dr Shuaib Manjra, Sports medicine scientist

I think the vote was split, it was a two to one vote, it wasn't a unanimous vote, they recognised that there is discrimination, but they felt that the perception was necessary, rational and proportionate to uphold the differences in sports.

Dr Shuaib Manjra, Sports medicine scientist

He adds that Semenya has a number of options available.

The one option is to quit running altogether, the second option is to appeal the findings, the third is to use hormonal therapy to reduce her testosterone level, and the fourth one is for her to compete in the 1500m and above.

Dr Shuaib Manjra, Sports medicine scientist

Listen below to the full interview:

Head of Human Biology at UCT, Professor Malcolm Collins speaks to CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies about the ruling and the biology behind it.

I am very disappointed with the ruling.

Professor Malcolm Collins, Head of Human Biology - UCT

Semenya has stated that she has a genetic advantage which is part of elite sport.

Professor Malcolm Collins, Head of Human Biology - UCT

He says her particular advantage is being discriminated against.

One of the big questions the sports world is trying to unpack is, what determines an elite sports person? And the big debate over the years is, is it nurture or is it nature?

Professor Malcolm Collins, Head of Human Biology - UCT

He says it has now been established that athletic ability is determined by very complex and poorly understood interaction between the two.

So our genetic makeup does play a very important role in determining whether we will be top contenders in any discipline.

Professor Malcolm Collins, Head of Human Biology - UCT

Semenya's genetic advantage is undisputed, he says.

She is born with differences in sex development which means she will produce higher levels of testosterone, but high jumpers are born with height...so does this mean every sport will have to be capped with something?

Professor Malcolm Collins, Head of Human Biology - UCT

He does not believe she has an unfair advantage.

Because that is the nature of sport.

Professor Malcolm Collins, Head of Human Biology - UCT

Listen to Professor Collins below:


This article first appeared on 702 : Caster ruling: 'They recognised the discrimination, but felt it necessary'


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