People of color took to Twitter to show their support for track superstar Caster Semenya yesterday (May 1) after the South African track phenom lost her discrimination case against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The IAAF issued a statement confirming that CAS upheld its decision to force Semenya to comply with its updated eligibility regulations.

For Semenya to continue to compete in races between 400 meter and a mile at international events, she will have to take drugs to reduce her body’s natural amount of testosterone. From the announcement: 

The eligibility conditions require a relevant athlete to reduce her testosterone levels to below 5 nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months prior to competition in the female classification in a restricted event at an international competition.

In its report, CAS noted that the regulation is discriminatory, but argued that it is “necessary”:

By majority, the CAS panel has dismissed the requests for arbitration considering that the claimants were unable to establish that the DSD Regulations were “invalid.” The panel found that the DSD Regulations are discriminatory but the majority of the panel found that, on the basis of the evidence submitted by the parties, such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF’s aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics in the restricted events.


The policy will go into effect on May 8, 2019. Meanwhile, Semenya’s name trended on Twitter as the world defended her right to compete just as she is:

In 2009, an 18-year-old Semenya burst on the scene when she became the 800 meter world champion. Then, she was forced to take blood tests to confirm her assigned sex, as Colorlines previously reported. Now at 28, with two 800 meter Olympic gold medals and three world championships, she is still fighting for her right to race.

“I know that the IAAF’s regulations have always targeted me specifically,” Semenya said in a statement, reported by the The Guardian. “For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger. The decision of the CAS will not hold me back. I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world.”