Caster Semenya
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IAAF argued in court that Caster Semenya is ‘biologically male’

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The governing body of track argued that Caster Semenya is “biologically male” and that is the reason she should reduce her natural testosterone to be allowed to compete in female competitions, according to documents released publicly by sport’s highest court for the first time on Tuesday.

The IAAF’s stance on Semenya and other female athletes affected by its new testosterone regulations was revealed in a 163-page decision from the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, where the South African runner took on the IAAF over its highly contentious hormone rules in a closed-doors five-day hearing in February. CAS released only excerpts of the final decision when it was announced last month.

Tuesday’s fuller court records, which were still partially redacted, show the IAAF referred to the two-time Olympic 800m champion as one of a number of “biologically male athletes with female gender identities.”

In witness statements to the court, Semenya responded to the assertion by saying that being described as biologically male “hurts more than I can put in words.”

Semenya told the court she was unable to express the depth of hurt and insult she felt at the IAAF “telling me that I am not a woman.”

The IAAF won the case at CAS by a 2-1 majority of the panel of judges, allowing it to implement testosterone limits for Semenya and other female athletes who it says were born with typical male chromosome patterns.

At least two other athletes, Olympic 800m silver and bronze medalists Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Margaret Wambui of Kenya, have said they are also affected by the new rules. They also have railed against the regulations and criticized the IAAF.

Semenya, who has been legally identified as female her whole life, appealed the CAS verdict to Switzerland’s supreme court on human rights grounds. She won an interim ruling to temporarily suspend the hormone regulations.

The dispute between the 28-year-old Semenya, who is also a three-time world champion, and the IAAF is viewed as the most complex and controversial that sport has faced in years.

The IAAF says Semenya is one of a number of female athletes born with a “differences of sex disorder” and the typical male XY chromosome pattern, giving them male levels of the hormone testosterone after puberty and therefore an unfair athletic advantage over other female athletes.

To be allowed to compete under the rules, Semenya and other affected athletes must medically reduce their testosterone to below a specific threshold set by the IAAF. The rules only apply to races from 400m to one mile.

Semenya has refused to take medication to alter what she calls her natural form.

Tuesday’s documents shone a light on some of the runner’s experiences in a bitter 10-year battle with track and field authorities, experiences which she hasn’t spoken about publicly.

Testifying to the court, Semenya said she had been subjected to gender verification tests by South African track authorities in the buildup to the 2009 World Championships without being told or understanding the nature of the tests. She was 18 at the time and preparing for her first major competition.

Then, after her breakthrough victory at those world championships in Berlin, Germany, Semenya said she was taken to a German hospital where the IAAF conducted another gender test on her. Semenya testified that the IAAF did not ask the then-teenager if she wanted to undergo the test.

“It was an order by the IAAF which I had no choice but to comply with,” Semenya testified, according to the CAS documents.

She described her first major championships and speculation over her gender as “the most profound and humiliating experience of my life.” She said her treatment was “atrocious and humiliating.”

Semenya also described a five-year period from 2010-15 where she reluctantly agreed take testosterone suppressants under a previous version of the IAAF’s rules because her career depended on it.

But Semenya said the medication caused her to experience significant weight gain and constantly feel sick, led to regular fevers, and caused internal abdominal pain.

She said the IAAF, which didn’t introduce its first set of testosterone regulations until 2011, used her as a “lab rat” as it experimented with hormone-reducing medication.

MORE: Olympic marathon medalist banned 4 years

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Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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