Fans urged Caster Semenya not to quit athletics after she posted a cryptic tweet following the loss of her appeal against regulations restricting testosterone levels in female runners.
She will have to take medication to reduce her testosterone level if she is to continue competing at 800m.
The Olympic champion, 28, is confirmed for that distance in the Diamond League season opener in Doha on Friday.
It means Semenya – and other athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) – must either take medication in order to compete in track events from 400m to the mile, or change to another distance.
Semenya is still eligible to compete at the Diamond League meet in Doha on Friday and can make an appeal against the CAS ruling to the Swiss Tribunal Courts within the next 30 days.
In typical style, the South African athlete has refused to concede the loss. While she is not the only athlete to challenge the IAAF on the issue of hormone testing, she has become the face of a now wide-ranging and fierce debate over athletics and gender norms.“For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger. The decision of the CAS will not hold me back. I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world.”
Should she appeal, she will have the support of her team and the South African government. The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee expressed its “downright” disappointment in the CAS ruling. While the South African government said it plans to lobby international organizations over what it considers a human rights issue. Semenya also has the backing of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which took on the matter as one of discrimination against women and girls.
Semanya rarely speaks publicly, making her Twitter timeline a window into her position on the decision. Within minutes of it being published, Semenya tweeted a quote card reading “sometimes it’s better to react with no reaction.”