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Caster Semenya Loses Landmark Case Against the IAAF Over Controversial Testosterone Rules

"The decision of 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," says the athlete.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) has rejected South African Olympic gold medalist, Caster Semenya's, challenge agains the IAAF's implementation of a new eligibility requirement that would force female athletes with naturally higher testosterone levels to either take medication in order to compete or to compete in other races , BBC Sport reports.

Last June, Semenya took legal action against the board, calling the rule discriminatory and unfair. "I just want to run naturally, the way I was born," said the 28-year-old athlete at the time.


The South African government launched the #NaturallySuperior movement in February to support the athlete and her right to compete as she is. The Minister of Sport, Toko Xasa, described the requirements as being a "gross violation of internationally accepted standards of human rights."

Despite the rule's apparent bias, Cas has ruled in favor of the IAAF.

In a statement on Wednesday, Cas claimed it had "serious concerns as to the future practical application of the rule." It admitted that the rule is, in fact, discriminatory, but claimed the discrimination was "necessary, reasonable and proportionate" to protect "the integrity of female athletics."

In response to the ruling, Semenya criticized the IAAF for consistently targeting her, but noted that she has no intention of letting the ruling stop her. "For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger," said the athlete. "The decision of 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."

Earlier today, the athlete tweeted a graphic, which read "sometimes it's better to react with no reaction."

Many online have expressed anger about the ruling, with several calling out the IAAF for its treatment of Semenya throughout the years. Several are pointing out the unjust racial and gender dynamics that have surrounded the federation's decision.












Op-Ed
Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images.

Black Women Are the Future of French Cinema—When Will Cannes Catch Up?

In this op-ed, OkayAfrica contributor Aude Konan reflects on the progression of diversity in French cinema a year after the Noire N'est Pas Mon Métier demonstration at Cannes Film Festival.

A year ago, 16 French actresses of African descent walked the red carpet at Cannes to talk about a new project they authored, Noire N'est Pas Mon Métier (Being Black Is Not My Job), where they shared their experiences with racism and sexism in the film industry.

In an era where the movements #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite gained global momentum and led to some change in the Academy Awards, it was a first considering that outside of Aissa Maïga, French actresses seldom get any visibility and speaking out against racism put them at risk of being blacklisted, like the actor Luc Saint Eloi's unfortunate experience 20 years ago.

The red carpet moment was generally well received in France and in the rest of the world, with the main actresses getting large media coverage with features in Le Monde, Le Figaro and even Vogue U.S. The presidents of the Cannes Film Festival welcomed the actresses. No promises were made by any of the gatekeepers in French cinema, but the actresses were hopeful.

Since the book's release, the actresses have been busy working, some of them lucky enough to be able to portray fully fledged characters, others being reduced to play the "black woman" stereotype over and over again. Recently, one of them, Karidja Touré, well known for being in the film Girlhood, mentioned that she was pretty good at mimicking an "African accent." Semantics aside—and the fact that there is no such a thing as an African accent, as Africa is still not a country—it is pretty revealing: despite the wonderful coverage these actresses had, has the movement contributed to any change?

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Walshy Fire, Ice Prince & Demarco's 'Round of Applause' Will Soundtrack Your Summer

PREMIERE: New heat from the Major Lazer producer & DJ.

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Akwaeke Emezi's 'Freshwater' Is Being Developed Into a Series for FX

The adaptation is in early development as the Nigerian author teams up with screenwriter and director Tamara P. Carter to bring 'Freshwater' to life.

Akwaeke Emezi's debut, Freshwater, took the literary world by storm when it was released just last year.

We can now anticipate seeing the book be brought to live for TV. Their autobiographical novel is now in the early stages of being developed into a series for FX, Variety reports.

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