Athletics chiefs want Caster Semenya to reduce testosterone levels to continue competing in women’s races

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ATHLETICS chiefs want Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya to reduce her testosterone levels to continue competing in women’s international events.

IAAF lawyers will tell a court next week what the limits are for competing in female competition.

And they will argue that the South African should be permitted to identify as a female and race in women’s competitions if she takes testosterone suppressants.

IAAF want South African Olympic champion Semenya to reduce her testosterone levels to continue competing in women's events
IAAF want South African Olympic champion Semenya to reduce her testosterone levels to continue competing in women’s events
AP:Associated Press

In a statement sent to SunSport, the IAAF said they were not questioning Semenya’s legal sex.

The IAAF also denied a report that they will argue Semenya should be classified as a “biological male”.

However, as an athlete with “differences of sexual development” (DSD), Semenya will have to reduce her testosterone levels if she wants to compete in women’s international events.

The statement read: “The IAAF is not classifying any DSD athlete as male. To the contrary, we accept their legal sex without question, and permit them to compete in the female category.

“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.

The South African has been dogged by questions since 2009, when it was reported that the IAAF forced her to undergo a gender test after the 800m at the world athletics championships
Reuters

“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.”

The five-day hearing at the Court of Arbitration of Sport will prove a landmark case, dealing with athletes with “differences of sexual development” (DSD).

And it will have an impact on rules in the sport surrounding transgender athletes competing in women’s events.

It will further divide views on whether Semenya, 28, and other DSD runners should be forced to take testosterone blockers, usually a contraceptive pill.

The South African has been dogged by questions since 2009, when it was reported that the IAAF forced her to undergo a gender test after the 800m at the world athletics championships.


Last year the IAAF were urged to drop the regulations by the United Nations’ human rights special pricedures body, who claimed they ‘contravene international human rights’
Reuters

And further controversy was caused after the 800m final at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Semenya won gold, but silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba and bronze medallist Margaret Wambui faced a grilling over their testosterone levels.

Last year the IAAF were urged to drop new regulations by the United Nations’ human rights special procedures body, who claimed they ‘contravene international human rights’.

They also argued that the rules discriminate against women with naturally high testosterone levels.

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