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Caster Semenya testosterone ruling: Common sense prevails

At first glance, “necessary discrimination” seems such an ugly, oxymoronic term. How can discrimination – which by its most common definition carries connotations of injustice and prejudice – ever be necessary or justified?

It was that term, “necessary discrimination,” which was referred to on Wednesday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in dismissing the challenge from South African runner Caster Semenya against the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) rules that limit natural testosterone for female athletes.

Double Olympic 800m champion Semenya, 28, had launched her appeal in a bid to prevent rules that would demand that she and other female athletes with DSD (differences of sexual development), many of whom are born with internal testes, take pills to reduce testosterone levels to below 5 nanomoles per liter of blood, should they wish to compete in women’s events at distances from 400m up to a mile.

The sex test results were never published officially, but some results were leaked in the press and are widely discussed, resulting in claims about Semenya having an intersex trait.

Italian runner Elisa Cusma Piccione: “For me, she is a man.”