Caster Semenya’s battle against the IAAF’s female eligibility regulations will start in Switzerland next week. EPA
CASTER Semenya's fight against the IAAF's female eligibility regulations will start in earnest at a five-day hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, next week.

The hearing, which will be held behind closed doors, has already been embroiled in controversy following a report in The Times of London yesterday.

The report made sweeping statements claiming the IAAF would argue that Semenya should be classified as a “biological male”.

The IAAF rubbished the report, saying its regulations did not intend to classify DSD (Differences of Sexual Development) athletes as male.

“To the contrary, we accept their legal sex without question, and permit them to compete in the female category,” the IAAF said.

“However, if a DSD athlete has testes and male levels of testosterone, they get the same increases in bone and muscle size and strength and increases in haemoglobin that a male gets when they go through puberty, which is what gives men such a performance advantage over women.

“Therefore, to preserve fair competition in the female category, it is necessary to require DSD athletes to reduce their testosterone down to female levels before they compete at international level.”

Semenya’s legal representatives, Norton Rose Fulbright, responded by saying Smenya was “unquestionably a woman” and she was looking forward to responding to the IAAF.

“The arbitration proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport are confidential and Ms Semenya is not permitted to discuss the case publicly,” Norton Rose Fulbright said in a statement.

“This includes referring to any submission or position that may or may not have been taken by any party within the confidential proceedings.”

The IAAF's regulations, that would attempt to regulate women who naturally produce testosterone levels above five nano-moles per litre of blood, were supposed to be implemented in November 2018.

But the IAAF postponed the regulations until the CAS had concluded the hearing, which was set for next week, with the IAAF expecting a decision by March.

Semenya, and the country's sports movement, have filed a legal challenge against the IAAF at the CAS.

Shani Bartlett, who was part of a two-day conference dedicated to the IAAF's regulations at the University of Pretoria late last year, said she disagreed with the international athletics reasoning.

“I don't think there are merits in their argument. I am not a scientist, but in terms of fair play, any natural advantage goes,” Bartlett said yesterday.

Bartlett argued that there were also men who produced extremely high levels of testosterone but were not subjected to the same regulations or scrutiny.

“So the IAAF are saying high levels of testosterone in the women's event is unfair but hyperandrogenism also happens in the male events,” Bartlett said. “There are male athletes with much higher levels of testosterone and nobody is looking at them. Why?" she asked.

“So, if testosterone is the determining factor in gaining a competitive advantage, then the regulations should be applied across the board.”