The South African Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SASOG) is disappointed by the verdict of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) who rejected Caster Semenya’s challenge against IAAF rules forcing her to lower her testosterone levels in order to compete internationally. SASOG agrees with the three-judge panel who ruled that targeting athletes with differences in sexual development is discriminatory but does not agree that such discrimination is “necessary or reasonable.” The scientific evidence regarding the advantage associated with certain levels of testosterone levels in the selected track events is questionable. Like the United Nations, SASOG believes that the ruling by the IAAF is unnecessary, humiliating and harmful. Segregation of competitors into those deemed to be excluded on the basis of some inherent characteristic is unfair because it excludes certain human beings from a field of human endeavour simply on the basis of a biological lottery. This is discriminating and is inconsistent with the South African constitution.

SASOG is also concerned with the forced medical management of athletes as a pre-requisite for participation in certain track events. The proposed treatment not only restricts one’s reproductive choices but may also be harmful with adverse consequences to quality of life.

Caster Mokgadi Semenya is a South African icon. We admire her resilience, determination and hard work which have made her a true winner. SASOG stands by our golden girl. We are confident that she will once again rise above and continue to inspire women and athletes in South Africa and around the world.

Prof Priya Soma-Pillay
SASOG:  Honorary Secretary
on behalf of SASOG Executive Committee