Caster Semenya celebrates after crossing the finish line to win gold in the woman's 800m final at the Commonwealth Games. Photo: AP Photo/Dita Alangkara
Caster Semenya celebrates after crossing the finish line to win gold in the woman's 800m final at the Commonwealth Games. Photo: AP Photo/Dita Alangkara

IAAF gender regulation change an affront to science and morality

By Morgan Bolton Time of article published May 4, 2018

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JOHANNESBURG - Steve Cornelius should be South Africa’s hero of the week. If you don’t recognise the name, then know that the Tuks law professor formerly sat on the IAAF’s disciplinary tribunal, but resigned following the introduction of rules by the athletics’ world governing body that could fine or ban women who do not undergo testosterone-reducing treatment.

Earlier this week, my man Cornelius condemned the IAAF’s new sanctions as “antiquated,” charging, in a letter to the athletics federation, that: “On deep moral grounds, I cannot see myself part of a system in which I may be called upon to apply regulations which I deem to be fundamentally flawed and most likely unlawful in various jurisdictions around the globe.”

As the saying goes: “Give that man a Bells.” 

READ MORE: Cornelius condemns IAAF’s controversial female classification rules

And while we are out dishing the “good” stuff, why not give a tipple to Canada, who stated they have “serious concerns” with regards to the new regulations and their ratification of discrimination based on sex and gender.

The IAAF insists that their new laws will ensure a level playing field in women’s athletics, so that the likes of Caster Semenya, won’t be able to dominate or even participate in their respective fields.

For, according to their own findings, elevated testosterone in women could give up to a 4.5 percent advantage over the field.

READ MORE: Under-fire IAAF president Coe defends new gender regulations

It is a self-fulfilling, in-house study, one that seeks to push an agenda for the benefit of the organisation that sanctioned it, one that the Court for Arbitration in Sport found dubious at best in 2015.

Much like the scientists and doctors who backed smoking as healthy, such as the academic study declaring: “there is no scientific evidence that the moderate use of tobacco by healthy mature men produces any beneficial or injurious physical effects that can be measured”.

Or the paid-by-lead-companies investigation that insisted that the use of the metal in petroleum was beneficial and did not cause poisoning of the population on a mass scale due to the dissemination of the element into the air, the facts can be bent to their will.

READ MORE: Athletics SA must shout from rooftops that Caster Semenya won’t be bullied

The IAAF actions, therefore, continue to bemuse as their moral authority slips as they ignore the progressive definitions of sex and gender identity.

Let’s for a moment consider the ITF pulling the same stunt by insisting that Serena Williams and her 37 Grand Slam titles represent an one-sided affair.

By the IAAF’s logic, the younger Williams sister must have an unfair advantage, one that doesn’t take into consideration her skill, her experience, her talents or her biology.

If the IAAF had it their way, Serena would be subjected to a barrage of demeaning tests, and if found in breach of their sanctions, forced to undergo hormonal treatment to nerf her innate abilities, or be booted out of her own sport.

Would these hypothetical actions, when applied because of Serena, then not be considered sexist, racist and discriminatory on several fundamental levels?

Would the custodians of the game keep quiet, or the fans remain mute on this issue? Methinks not. Hence the tipping of the hat to Cornelius and his noble stance.

Moreover, as argued, it is easy to identify a problem and then find evidence to support your own dodgy hypothesis.

A quick search online, and anyone can find research, such as the one published by Afri Health Sciences, whose data suggests that “healthy men in South Africa have lower total testosterone values than that of men in international studies ...”

Well, I feel aggrieved. Why is the IAAF not doing anything about this apparent inequality, this prejudiced advantage that other countries hold over us?

If we contend, as the IAAF does, that the amount of testosterone a person produces equals to the amount of success they might enjoy on the track or the field, then this travisty cannot stand. Where is the enactment for equality here?

“Well, that’s just ridiculous,” you might angrily, with fist-clenched, vein-popping, rage-filled faced, counter. “South African men are strong, we are born that way.”

Well, tell that to Caster and the IAAF.


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