CASTER SEMENYA celebrates after winning gold in the women’s 800m final during the Diamond League in Doha, Qatar, on May 3.     AP
CASTER SEMENYA celebrates after winning gold in the women’s 800m final during the Diamond League in Doha, Qatar, on May 3. AP

Semenya remains defiant on IAAF's new rules

By Staff Reporter Time of article published May 13, 2019

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DURBAN - Athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD) hoping to compete at the World Championships must submit to new rules curbing their levels of testosterone, but Caster Semenya appears ready to resist them.

Athletics chiefs had set a Wednesday deadline for DSD athletes to submit blood samples to their medical team with a testosterone level below 5 nanomoles a litre, which they must maintain over the next four-and-a-half months.

But double 800m Olympic champion Semenya posted a picture of a clenched fist with the word “resist” on Twitter, a signal that she would not comply.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has been heavily criticised for the rules, with allegations that the science is flawed, regulations ethically dubious and that the potential side-effects were unknown.

Among the most vocal have been the World Medical Association (WMA), which urged their member physicians in 114 countries not to assist in the implementation of the regulations.

But the global body has responded in a letter to the WMA, saying the rules have been developed after “many scientific publications and observations from the field during the last 15 years”.

The IAAF clarified that the regulations applied only to DSD athletes who were legally female (or intersex), had male chromosomes (XY) not female chromosomes (XX), testes not ovaries, testosterone in the male range and the ability to make use of that testosterone circulating within their bodies.

“In 46XY DSD individuals, reducing serum testosterone to female levels by using a contraceptive pill (or other means) is the standard of care for 46XY DSD athletes with a female gender identity. These medications are gender- affirming,” the IAAF said.

The governing body added that DSD athletes would be able to compete in male events without restrictions if they chose not to take the medication.

It is the athlete’s right to decide (in consultation with their medical team) whether or not to proceed with any assessment and/or treatment.

“If she decides not to do so, she will not be entitled to compete in the female classification of any restricted event at an international competition. She would still be entitled to compete in the male classification.”


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