Athletics

IOC head Bach has 'sympathy' for Semenya

Caster Semenya (Getty Images)
Caster Semenya (Getty Images)

Cape Town - IOC President Thomas Bach said on Saturday he has "a lot of sympathy" for Caster Semenya after the South African runner lost her Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) appeal in a landmark case against track and field's governing body.

READ: Semenya's WhatsApp hacked prior to 800m win

Based on Wednesday's CAS decision, Semenya, who won the 800m at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, would have to artificially reduce her levels of testosterone to defend her titles at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

After winning her 800m race at the Doha Diamond League on Friday, her reply to a question of whether she will now submit to new IAAF regulations and take hormone-reducing medication was an emphatic: "Hell no".

According to the AP website, Bach said: "First of all I must say I have a lot of sympathy for Caster Semenya over this decision."

"Having said this, the issue as such is extremely complex," Bach added.

"It has scientific impact, it has ethical impact, it impacts on fair play in competition so it's extremely delicate and it's extremely difficult to do justice to all these."

"The IOC respects CAS decisions, as we always do, but from a human point of view, yes, I have sympathy for her."

Bach said an IOC committee would go over the full CAS ruling once it was available, including recommendations on how the rules should be implemented.

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