South African government continues to back Semenya after ruling

The South African government says it will study the judgment of the landmark legal case against the IAAF and its testosterone regulations before planning a route forward.

Caster Semenya and Athletics South Africa (ASA), backed by the government, had a request for arbitration concerning the IAAF's eligibility rules for athletes with differences of sex development (DSD) dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Wednesday.

The regulations require DSD athletes, such as Semenya, with naturally occurring high levels of testosterone to lower them in order to compete in women's track events from 400m to a mile.

Although a CAS panel did consider the regulations to be "discriminatory", it ruled by majority that "such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF's aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics".

The IAAF's DSD regulations, which were set to come into effect last November but were suspended pending the outcome of the CAS procedures, are now due to become active from May 8.

This means Semenya will be required to take medication to reduce her testosterone levels in order to defend her 800m title in September's World Championships in Doha.

However, the ruling, which referenced "some serious concerns as to the future practical applications of these DSD regulations", may be appealed at the Swiss Federal Tribunal within 30 days.

A statement from South Africa's minister of sport and recreation Tokozile Xasa described the government's disappointment but offered Semenya encouragement and said it would now take time to consider the judgment.

"Naturally, we are disappointed with the judgment," Xasa said. "However, we have directed ASA to request a copy of the full judgment. We will study the judgment, consider it and determine a way forward.

"As the South African government, we have always maintained that these regulations trample on the human rights and dignity of Caster Semenya and other women athletes.

"We will comment further after studying the full judgment."

Xasa thanked the South African public for their support and added to Semenya: "You remain our golden girl.

"What you have done for our people and girls is enormous. You have flown our flag high, you have united a nation and inspired a rural girl. For that, we thank you, Mokgadi."

She also assured that both the government and ASA would keep pushing to have the regulations declared invalid and void.

"ASA should continue to lobby other national athletics associations in other jurisdictions to internally oppose these regulations," Xasa said.

"We, too, in government will continue to lobby through other international organsations on our opposition to these regulations and continue to put the necessary pressure on the IAAF to see the impact of these regulations on global human rights tenets and frameworks."

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