By 6am EDT, the world will know whether Olympian Caster Semenya can compete without further medical intervention, or if the International Association of Athletic Federations has won its battle to restrict her natural levels of testosterone as a requirement of competition.
Reuters reports the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on whether to uphold or reject her challenge of IAAF proposed policies will be announced at that hour, which is 10am Greenwich Mean Time Wednesday in Switzerland.
The decision does not affect Semenya alone. The IAAF wants all female athletes with differences of sexual development, often called DSD, to take testosterone blockers. Their argument is women athletes with DSDs have an unfair advantage to other women due to their higher testosterone levels.
This is not a case impacting transgender athletes, but advocates for trans inclusion are watching this case closely for potential ramifications in the future.
“Her case is about the rights of women such as Ms. Semenya who are born as women, reared and socialized as women, who have been legally recognized as women for their entire lives, who have always competed as women, and who should be permitted to compete in the female category without discrimination,” said her attorneys in a February statement. There have been reports circulating for years that she was born with internalized testicles, but that has never been confirmed or announced publicly for privacy reasons.
The IAAF’s proposed new rules would apply to women runners competing in all federation events, between 400 meters to the mile, who are classified as having DSDs. The federation wants to require that they chemically reduce their blood testosterone level to below five nmol/L for at least six months before they will be allowed to compete. Plus, they have to maintain a reading below that level going forward to continue as an athlete in those events.
Semenya, 28, first appealed the proposed rule change last year and has been waiting since February for a verdict.
Semenya won the 800 metre gold medals at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and also won her third world title in London two years ago.
Outsports will report on the verdict as soon as it is announced.