Kenya’s Olympic 800m bronze medal winner Margaret Wambui, joined the chorus of criticism in the wake of a CAS ruling against her rival Caster Semenya.
Semenya lost a court challenge against IAAF rules forcing
women with elevated levels of testosterone to take suppressive treatment if
they wish to compete in certain events.
AFP quoted Wambui’s Twitter feed as having said:
“This life sometimes is so unfair”, Wambui wrote on Twitter. “Everything that happens, happens with a reason Caster.”
“This is life we Africans have nothing to say in this world and (there is) nothing we can do about it, so pole (sorry) my dear -so painful.”
Semenya’s testosterone levels are not publicly known.
The IAAF’s DSD Regulations
The IAAF are compelling female runners in certain categories
to cap their testosterone levels at five nanomoles per litre (nmol/L) of blood
if they wish to compete.
It’s a row that first began in 2009, when Semenya burst onto
the scene as a teenager at the World Championships. However, the IAAF has wrestled
with how to define “female” ever since it was established.
The IAAF announced the regulations back in 2018, following
another case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) brought by Indian sprinter
Dutee Chand. She won her case and the court told the IAAF should return with
better evidence back in 2015.
Chand on Thursday said that the rules were
“wrong”, but backed Semenya to
overcome the potentially far-reaching ruling.
“This is wrong. I feel sad for her, she has been made to suffer like me,” Chand, 23, told AFP.
The IAAF did not relent after Chand’s case, though.
After several extensions, the adapted regulations were announced in 2018. However, the science used by the IAAF was widely criticised and Semenya took the case to CAS.
While she lost the appeal, the court, too, said that the regulations were “discriminatory” but deemed it “necessary” for a “binary classification” to exist.
The court suggested that the regulations be deferred for
certain events in which the IAAF wants them to apply. It’s up to the governing
body to decide whether they will adhere to this suggestion.
For now, the rules will come into effect on 8 May 2018 and
will be applied only to running events in distances ranging from 400m to one
mile. Throwing and jumping events will not have the same restrictions, despite
the IAAF’s study showing that they offer
the greatest advantage for athletes with elevated testosterone levels.
Semenya and Wambui to race at the Diamond League in Doha
Semenya, a double Olympic champion, was added to the start
list for Friday’s 800m event at the Diamond League in Doha. The meeting is the
curtain-raiser for the season ahead.
Organisers said the South African runner had waited for the
outcome of Wednesday’s CAS hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland, before deciding
whether to run. The 800m event is scheduled for 20:07.
The IAAF confirmed after the ruling that athletes who
entered the opening event will be allowed to run.
Wambui, who finished third behind Semenya in the 800m at the
2016 Rio Olympics, and silver medallist from Burundi Francine Niyonsaba will
At the Doha Diamond League meet in May 2017, both Semenya
and Wambui posted the world leading
times of 1:56.61 and 1:57.03 respectively in finishing first and second in the