SASCOC 'downright disappointed' in Caster ruling

Caster Semenya (AP)
Caster Semenya (AP)

Cape Town - The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) has expressed its downright disappointment at the ruling by Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on the Caster Semenya and ASA appeal against IAAF testosterone rules in female athletes.

READ: The full CSA verdict

In a strongly worded statement issued hours after the ruling in Lausanne, Switzerland on Wednesday, SASCOC stated they were hopeful CAS would find the validity of IAAF regulations null and void and were unnecessarily discriminatory.

The press statement continued:

It is now a matter of record that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) “found that the rules for athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) were discriminatory, but 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 protecting the integrity of female athletics in the Restricted events”. 

We disagree with CAS in the extreme. It is clear from the ruling itself that the application of these rules (in particular for the 1 500m and mile events) remains a source of concern, whilst the athletes’ ability to maintain strict compliance with the maximum permitted testosterone levels could well be at issue too. We maintain that the rules are ill thought and will be a source of distress for the targeted female athletes.

READ: Caster Semenya tweets after losing testosterone ruling

"This decision marks a massive turning point as it now redefines what a female athlete in particular is. The question we all have on our minds as athletes is around how these regulations will be applied with equality, parity and fairness in sport. We do believe that this decision will impede the talent of athletes here in South Africa and knowing Caster and the hard work she has put into her sport, we support all her endeavours and we are all behind her,” said Natalie du Toit, chairperson of SASCOC’s Athletes’ Commission.

"The CAS findings are disheartening for those of us who come from a country where human rights are a foundation of our society and have fought hard and for many years for their attainment. It surely cannot escape our minds that the United Nations also criticised the IAAF regulations as “unnecessary, humiliating and harmful", said Gideon Sam, President of SASCOC.

“Caster’s rights have been trampled on for a long time and it was our hope that this case would bring the matter to an end. It is unfortunate that her and many other women around the world will continue to be subjected to such subjudications and violations, and be deprived of the opportunity to prosper and take the centre stage in sport. We continue to celebrate and support Caster Semenya as a champion, the great carrier of the Team South Africa flag, a symbol of national pride and we applaud her for her excellence,” continued Sam.

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