South African athlete Caster Semenya, has lost her appeal against rules designed to decrease naturally high testosterone levels in some female runners.
She was challenging a proposal by athletics’ governing body to limit testosterone levels in female athletes competing in distances of between 400m and one mile.
Caster Semenya has a condition called hyperandrogenism which means her testosterone levels are naturally elevated.
The average testosterone levels for women are between 0.52 and 2.43 nmol/L (nanomoles per litre of blood), while for men it is between 10.41 to 34.70.
After winning the 800m at the World Championships in 2009 at the age of 18, Semenya was forced to spend 11 months on the sidelines while she underwent sex verification testing.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Caster Semenya may have up to three times the testosterone levels of the average woman.
Now, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) plans to reduce the testosterone limit level from 10 nanomoles per litre to five for female athletes.
The International Olympic Committee is planning to do the same. If such rules are implemented, Caster Semenya could be barred from competing.
The IAAF’s proposals would require women with elevated testosterone levels to either take medication to reduce their levels, or run against men if they wish to continue competing.