Caster Semenya, a two-time Olympic gold medallist in the 800-metre event has lost her appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal to overturn the decision that female athletes with a naturally high level of testosterone must take medication to reduce production.
According to her lawyers, the tribunal found the requirement of subjecting certain female athletes to drug or surgical interventions as a precondition to compete does not amount to a violation of Swiss public policy.
However, to have as much testosterone in the body as Semenya does naturally would require supplementation by women who do not live with the condition of hyperandrogenism as Semenya does. Increased testosterone helps build muscle mass and red blood cell count, which affects endurance. The supplementation would be considered cheating by using performance-enhancing drugs by others.
Semenya told the media that she is, “very disappointed,” and “I will continue to fight for the human rights of female athletes, both on the track and off the track until we can all run free the way we were born.”
She can run free, however, where careers are at stake, she does hold an advantage that would require cheating. Semenya will continue to compete in shorter distances of 200m and 400m.