Caster Semenya’s battle against the IAAF’s female eligibility regulations starts in Switzerland this week. Photo: EPA/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG – 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 this week.

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

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,” it 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 Semenya was “unquestionably a woman” and she was looking forward to responding to the IAAF.

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 last year. But the IAAF postponed the regulations until the CAS had concluded the hearing this week, with the IAAF expecting a decision next month.


The Star

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