News emerged today that the CAS had rejected an appeal from South African athlete Caster Semenya. The CAS are introducing a limit in testosterone levels for female athletes. Semenya’s testosterone is naturally produced. She has not taken any drugs to give herself an unfair advantage so essentially she is being disqualified for something she has no control over. This all seems rather unfair to me and has sparked outrage from human rights organisations.
The CAS released a press release saying – ‘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 Event ‘.
Can discrimination in any form really be a good thing? The fact that Semenya would actually have to take drugs in order to compete make the new regulations seem rather counter intuitive. Fellow athletes such as Lynsey Sharpe crying about finishing 6th and attempting to put the blame on Caster hardly helped matters and surely had an influence on the CAS’ decision. You finished 6th Lynsey. 6th. Should footballers who are naturally fast be banned? Should basketballers who are tall be banned? Genetic advantages are normal and perfectly fair. If you want to win races then you need to run faster.
The decision by the CAS casts a doubt over the future of athletics because the fastest person won’t really be the fastest person. They will simply be the fastest person who happened to fit into the discriminatory regulations. The new rules are not fair or right and quite frankly border on racism. By attempting to create a more fair and equitable playing surface they have in fact given in to the whines and groans of inferior athletes and given them an unfair advantage.