The Swiss Supreme Court has dismissed Olympic champion Caster Semenya’s appeal against a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last year. The CAS had decided that Semenya would have to take testosterone-lowering drugs in order to compete professionally.

“The CAS had the right to maintain the conditions of participation issued for female athletes with the genetic variant ’46 XY DSD ‘in order to ensure fair competition for certain running disciplines in female athletics,” said the Swiss court.

According to the CAS, regulations from the sport’s governing body, World Athletics, are necessary for athletes with Differences in Sexual Development (DSD) in races ranging from 400 meters to one mile to ensure fair competition. World Athletics has banned Semenya and other DSD athletes from participating in races unless they are taking testosterone-lowering drugs.

Semenya won Olympic gold over 800 meters in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016

World Athletics (until recently known as the IAAF) wants to introduce a testosterone limit of five nanomoles per liter for athletes competing in international events between 400 meters and one mile.

Women who have higher values ​​would be required to lower them by taking anti-hormonal drugs – such as birth control pills – for a minimum period of six months before competition.

Read more: Opinion: Caster Semenya’s verdict is “wrong and demeaning”

Biological differences give an unfair advantage?

Semenya was born with chromosome “46 XY” rather than chromosome XX in most women. She is classified as a female, raised like a female, and runs like a female, but World Athletics and some of her opponents argue that her unusual biology gives her a competitive edge. Testosterone levels can increase muscle mass, strength, and levels of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in the blood of athletes, which can improve endurance.

World Athletics maintains that it seeks to “ensure fair competition for all women” by restricting the participation of women with certain “male attributes” attributable to DSD.

Following the removal of the Swiss Supreme Court, Semenya pledged to continue his “fight for human rights” by seeking to appeal again to European and South African courts.

“I am very disappointed with this decision, but refuse to let World Athletics drug me or prevent me from being who I am,” Semenya said in a statement.

Caster Semenya draped in the South African flag after her first major victory as a teenager in Berlin in 2009.

Semenya’s victory in 2009 as a teenager at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin sparked the first inquiries into her unusual biology.

After her first major international title in 2009 as a teenager, the IAAF (as it was called then) ordered a test to see if Semenya was really a woman. She was initially banned from competing, but was later allowed to return in mid-2010.

In South Africa, she is considered a heroine and the government of her country has repeatedly complained that Semenya was the victim of international discrimination.

am / msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)