Caster Semenya Expected To Be Affected By IAAF Rule Changes

27 April, 2018, 00:21 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • South Africa's Caster Semenya runs to win the Women's 800m Final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro

In 2011, athletics' governing body attempted to prohibit female athletes with hyperandrogenism (excessive levels of androgens in the female body) from competing at worldwide events under IAAF guidance.

In recent years, IAAF president Seb Coe has been vocal about reinstating the the rule to try and ensure "a level playing field". "It does not want to risk discouraging those aspirations by having unfair competition conditions that deny athletes a fair opportunity to succeed".

Semenya‚ the Olympic and world 800m champion‚ was first placed in the spotlight in 2009 with the IAAF saying she had undergone a gender verification process.

The previous rules were challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport by sprinter Dutee Chand of India and overturned before the 2016 Olympics.

It has also seen backlash spread across social media, with users calling the regulation "sexist".

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Athletics' governing body have brought in new regulations affecting women with higher than normal levels of testosterone who compete in track events ranging from the 400 metres up to a mile.

Sports medicine specialist, Dr Shuaib Manjra, explains what the new regulations mean for Caster Semenya.

The IAAF believes the new measures will stop women with high testosterone levels gaining a competitive advantage.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Semenya is among the athletes who will still be eligible to compete, but only provided testosterone levels are reduced to below five nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months.

"Caster is not just an athlete to people of South Africa, she represents their hopes and aspirations".

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The new regulations, approved by the IAAF Council in March, will come into effect in November.

Research over a decade showed 7.1 in every 1,000 elite track and field athletes had elevated testosterone levels - 140 times greater than the female population.

It said the new rules would apply to any distance from 400m to the mile‚ meaning Semenya could switch to the 5 000m and 10 000m if she refuses to take medication, which can be used on a daily basis in tablet form.

Since then virtually all of Semenya's performances have been followed by questions about her sexual and physical status, but she has long stopped answering them.

'If we implement it the way the sport has wanted to, we could actually prevent female athletes from competing and that seems to be a human rights violation, ' said Paul Melia, CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.

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