Is the CAS ruling against Caster Semenya fair?

Should a female athlete with naturally elevated testosterone levels be forced to take medication to lower them? The International Sports Court CAS has ruled that she should, rejecting an appeal brought by the intersexual South African middle distance runner Caster Semenya against IAAF rules. A look at the press highlights the complexity of the case of the two-times Olympics champion.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Equal opportunties take precedent

The ruling will help women's sports, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung explains:

“The Court of Arbitration for Sport has stuck to its ruling that the IAAF's hormone regulations are discriminatory. Indeed, the upshot will be that certain individuals won't be able to compete in sporting events in their natural condition. If they want their testosterone levels to remain under a certain value they'll have to take drugs that experts say can cause depression. But the CAS has come to the conclusion that in the case of Caster Semenya vs. the IAAF, it is both necessary and appropriate to subject the interests of the few to those of the many. The fact that there are gender-specific competitions allows women to win medals and engage in careers in many sports. The CAS's judgement helps to ensure at least half-way equal opportunities in women's sports.”

El Mundo (ES) /

A woman is a woman

If medicine has proven that Semenya is a woman then she should receive the same treatment as other women, El Mundo argues:

“It is at the very least reprehensible to force a woman to take medication because of her genetics. For transsexual athletes a testosterone limit may make sense, but Semenya has already taken a test that confirmed that she is a woman. To overrule scientific evidence with a juristic decision defies common sense. No one doubts Semenya's unusual physical condition, but this should not prevent her from competing under the same rules as other women.”