In direct defiance of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the World Medical Association (WMA) has reiterated its advice to physicians to take no part in implementing the new eligibility regulations for classifying female athletes.
This after South African star athlete Caster Semenya lost her appeal against the IAAF’s proposed female eligibility rules at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Semenya, a double Olympic champion, fought regulations that compel hyper-androgenic athletes – or those with “differences of sexual development” (DSD) – to lower their testosterone levels if they wish to compete as women.
Semenya now has 30 days to lodge her appeal should she wish to do so. The WMA reiterated its advice to physicians around the world not to implement the new eligibility regulations, with its president Dr Leonid Eidelman saying: “We have strong reservations about the ethical validity of these regulations.
They are based on weak evidence from a single study, which is currently being widely debated by the scientific community.
“They are also contrary to a number of key WMA ethical statements and declarations, and as such we are calling for their immediate withdrawal.”
The SA Medical Association (Sama) chairperson, Dr Angelique Coetzee, said the association supported their international colleagues in the call for the withdrawal of the rule.
“This ruling is both shocking and disconcerting. This certainly cannot be the way forward for sport.”
Sama will stand behind Semenya should she wish to appeal the ruling in the Swiss Federal Tribunal.
“That a world-class athlete has to endure this level of discrimination is unacceptable, unnecessary and harmful.” Semenya has also garnered the support of some notable sports stars, including former US tennis player Billie Jean King, who said she was disappointed by the decision. “I stand with you,” King said.