Tag Archives: DSD

Caster Semenya on world track and field championships entry list

Caster Semenya, the two-time Olympic 800m champion who now races longer distances due to a rule capping testosterone levels in middle-distance events, is on the 5000m entry list for the world championships that start next week in Eugene, Oregon.

Neither Semenya’s team nor South Africa’s track and field federation has responded to a request for confirmation that she will race at worlds. The federation announced a roster last week that did not include Semenya.

Semenya’s last global meet was the 2017 World Championships, where she won a third world title in the 800m and took bronze in the 1500m.

In 2019, a World Athletics rule went into effect that capped athlete testosterone levels in women’s events from the 400m through the mile for athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD). World Athletics said that no female athletes would have a level above the cap — five nanomoles per liter — unless they had a DSD or a tumor.

Semenya made multiple unsuccessful appeals. Her latest, and perhaps last, to the European Court of Human Rights last year, has not been adjudicated.

Over the last three years, Semenya joined a soccer club, then returned to the track and moved down to the 200m and finally up to the 5000m.

She did not qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Nor did she qualify outright for these world championships based on her best time this season and world ranking, missing the initial 42-runner cutoff by two spots in the world rankings (and by three ranking points out of more than 1,100).

Semenya moved up the qualifiers list when other higher-ranked runners did not enter worlds. That list included reigning world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya, who is entered solely in the 10,000m.

Elsewhere, Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan entered the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m but is expected to drop at least one of the events. Hassan won gold in the 5000m and 10,000m and bronze in the 1500m in Tokyo.

Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the two-time Olympic 400m champion, is entered in both the 200m and 400m, which overlap. Her agency said Friday that she plans to contest solely the 400m.

Many top Cuban athletes are not entered at worlds after reports of athletes leaving the national team.

Cubans not on the entry list include Juan Miguel Echevarria, the Olympic long jump silver medalist, the world’s top two men’s triple jumpers this year in Jordan Diaz Fortun and Andy Diaz and Reynier Mena, who on Sunday ran the world’s third-fastest 200m this year, bringing his personal best down from to 20.04 to 19.63.

Source: olympics.nbcsports.com

World Athletics may bar transgender women from female competition

The World Athletics president, Sebastian Coe, has hailed swimming’s decision to ban transgender women from elite female competition as in “the best interests of its sport” – and hinted that track and field could soon follow suit.

Lord Coe was in Budapest on Sunday as swimming’s governing body, Fina, voted to bar from women’s events trans athletes who have experienced any part of male puberty. Within 24 hours he announced that the World Athletics council would also be reviewing its transgender and DSD (differences in sex development) athletes policies at the end of the year.

“My responsibility is to protect the integrity of women’s sport. We take that very seriously and, if it means that we have to make adjustments to protocols going forward, we will,” Coe said. “And I’ve always made it clear: if we ever get pushed into a corner to that point where we’re making a judgment about fairness or inclusion, I will always fall down on the side of fairness.”

Under World Athletics rules transgender women can compete in the female category provided they suppress their testosterone to below 5nmol/L for 12 months. That rule was also followed by Fina until Sunday, when it changed its regulations after scientific evidence showed trans women retain an advantage even after reducing testosterone.

When asked what he made of Fina’s new policy, Coe was clear. “We see an international federation asserting its primacy in setting rules, regulations and policies that are in the best interest of its sport,” he said. “This is as it should be. We have always believed, and repeated constantly, that biology trumps gender and we will continue to review our regulations in line with this.”

As things stand there are no elite‑level trans track and field athletes, although CeCé Telfer became the first openly transgender person to win an NCAA title in 2019 in the women’s 400m hurdles.

Any toughening of the rules will also affect DSD athletes such as the double Olympic and three-times world championship 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya, the 200m silver medallist from Tokyo 2020 Christine Mboma and Francine Niyonsaba, who won the women’s 5,000m Diamond League final last year.

DSD athletes – who have male testes but do not produce enough of the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), critical for the formation of male external genitalia – have proved a hugely controversial area for athletics.

In 2019 World Athletics went to the court of arbitration for sport to stop DSD athletes running internationally at events between 400m and a mile, unless they take medication to reduce their testosterone levels. They can, however, run in other events. Cas ruled that 46 XY DSD athletes “enjoy a significant sporting advantage … over 46 XX athletes without such DSD” due to biology.

There has been a great deal of sympathy for athletes such as Semenya, who have been raised as women from a young age and want to compete as one, and any changes to World Athletics’ DSD policy would reignite the controversy.

When asked whether the governing body would consider adopting a similar policy to Fina, Coe said: “We have always said our regulations in this area are a living document, specific to our sport and we will follow the science.

“We continue to study, research and contribute to the growing body of evidence that testosterone is a key determinator in performance and have scheduled a discussion on our DSD and transgender regulations with our council at the end of the year.”

Caster Semenya to open 2022 season with a 3000m Race

Double Olympic women’s 800m champion will return to competitive racing for the first time since June 30, 2021 when she failed to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

Caster Semenya returns to competitive distance running on Wednesday (23 March), nearly 10 months after failing to achieve the qualifying mark for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

The two-time 800m Olympic champion, who scaled up to the longer distances due to the World Athletics’ testosterone rules, will line-up in the women’s 3000m at the second meeting of the Athletics South Africa Grand Prix, at Greenpoint Athletics Stadium in Cape Town.

The South African will be up against local stars, led by former national 5000m champion and two-time world cross country finalist Kesa Molotsane, plus her training partner Glenrose Xaba, a seasoned long-distance runner.

Semenya hasn’t raced competitively since 30 June 2021, when she finished in fourth place in a 5000m meet in Belgium in 15:50.12, missing out on her targeted 15:10.00 which meant she didn’t qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021.

The South African 5000m national champion, who raced to her personal best of 15:32.15 in May 2021 has since spent most of her time off the track coaching athletes at the Masai Athletics Club which operates with her wife Violet, in Pretoria and Soweto.

Semenya’s background

In May 2019, a World Athletics eligibility ruling came into effect which prevents female athletes with Differences in Sexual Development (DSD) from competing in women’s events from 400m to one mile (1600m), unless they reduce their testosterone levels.

The 31-year-old Semenya vowed following that ruling that she would not take any testosterone suppressing medication, terming the rules discriminatory and unfair.

The runner challenged the World Athletics rules and lost the cases at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2019 and at the Swiss Federal Supreme court in 2020. She then moved a third lawsuit in the European Court of Human Rights in February 2021.

The triple 800m world champion shifted her focus on the 5000m, having originally decided to go for the 200m in March 2020.

Semenya won the women’s 800m titles at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics.

Source: olympics.com

Sex verification in sport: the sidelining of intersex athletes

Sex verification in sport has been debated for decades, with the likes of Ewa Kłobukowska and Caster Semenya being banned from women’s sports in the process. As more athletes were prohibited from competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics earlier this year, the debate is far from over.

Regulations have evolved over the years, as our understanding of sex and intersexuality progresses. Sex verification was initially in the form of physical examinations during the 1960s, then replaced by genetic tests. At the 2012 London Olympics, a new regulation was put in place, whereby eligibility to compete in the female classification depended on an athlete’s testosterone levels.

The legislation was hugely unpopular, with the appeal of Indian sprinter Dutee Chand resulting in the regulation’s suspension. It was determined that there was insufficient evidence to show that elevated testosterone levels give athletes a sporting advantage. Testosterone can certainly induce muscle growth, but in many sports other skills, namely agility and coordination, shape the level of an athlete’s success.

As a result of Chand’s successful appeal, researchers funded by World Athletics, formerly known as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), published studies claiming that higher testosterone levels confer a significant sporting advantage in 400m to 1-mile running events. Despite some criticising the integrity of the data, new regulations were implemented based on this evidence in 2018. It mandated female athletes with ‘Differences in Sex Development’ (DSDs) to lower their testosterone levels if they choose to compete in the female classification of such events.

The legislation was challenged by intersex athlete Caster Semenya back in May 2019: “Excluding female athletes or endangering our health solely because of our natural abilities puts World Athletics on the wrong side of history”.

In response, the regulations were upheld, as the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) ruled the differential treatment of intersex athletes “necessary, reasonable and proportionate”. At this year’s Tokyo Games, the eligibility of athletes was determined by individual sporting federations.

“Therefore, contrary to popular belief, sex is not binary. Such variations may be uncommon in the general population, but some have suggested that intersexuality is far more common amongst elite athletes”

Before proceeding any further, it should be pointed out that intersexuality is different to transgenderism. Intersex people are born with ambiguous sex, while transgender people feel their gender and sex are misaligned. Consequently, the regulations are different for the two situations, and this article focuses strictly on the former.

The science behind World Athletics’ legislation

It’s commonly accepted that gender is an individual choice of identification, while sex is an unalterable, congenital trait. The definition of sex is multi-faceted: genetic sex is the possession of XY chromosomes in males and XX chromosomes in females, gonadal sex is the possession of testes in males and ovaries in females, and anatomic sex is the possession of penises for males and vaginas for females.

In most cases, sex differentiation is straightforward: females will inherit XX chromosomes, which means they subsequently develop ovaries and a vagina, with the opposite being true for males.

However, in a minority of cases, some individuals can possess a mixture of both male and female biological traits. For example, they may have XX chromosomes and ovaries yet have external genitalia somewhat resembling a penis. These deviations from biological expectation are known as intersexuality, or DSDs. Therefore, contrary to popular belief, sex is not binary. Such variations may be uncommon in the general population, but some have suggested that intersexuality is far more common amongst elite athletes.

The newest World Athletics eligibility regulations only apply to intersex athletes. Non-intersex women with testosterone levels above the 5nmol/L limit are not required to lower their testosterone production in order to compete in the female category. Although it’s recognised that non-intersex women can also have elevated testosterone levels, especially those suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome or adrenal tumours, their levels rarely exceed the 5nmol/L limit. Furthermore, there is ambiguity in the regulations, such that intersex athletes with some specific DSD variations might arbitrarily be exempt too.

 What are the aims of the DSD regulations?

Records show that there is a performance difference between men and women in most sports. No doubt, non-physiological factors such as funding contribute to the gap, but biological factors undeniably play a role too. World Athletics believes that the higher testosterone levels in men are the main reason for their sporting advantage over females. However, this argument may be flawed given that higher testosterone levels only correlate with better performance in a limited range of running events.

“When athletes are segregated into male and female classifications, those in the middle of the spectrum, or those who are intersex, will inevitably be treated differently compared to non-intersex athletes”

The aim of the DSD regulations was not to verify sex; it was to distinguish athletes with a competitive advantage from those without. Yet, by permitting non-intersex female athletes to have a testosterone level exceeding the 5nmol/L limit, the governing body is not separating athletes into the male and female classifications solely according to testosterone levels. In fact, the organisation is seeking to define and verify sex.

Testosterone is one of the key factors that determine anatomic sex and, as its levels rise, an individual’s sexual characteristics become increasingly masculine. But at what specific point on this spectrum does a woman become a man? Any line drawn to segregate males and females will be arbitrary. Moreover, the definition of sex is evidently complicated, given that genetic, gonadal, and anatomic sex can be independent of each other in intersex individuals.

When athletes are segregated into male and female classifications, those in the middle of the spectrum, or those who are intersex, will inevitably be treated differently compared to non-intersex athletes.

By definition, intersex individuals do not fit into the binary constructs of the male and female sexes. It is therefore problematic to think of intersex athletes simply as females with an inborn sporting advantage due to their increased testosterone levels.

 Striking a balance between sporting integrity and intersex rights

 One proposed solution is the creation of a third classification in sports. However, such a decision would risk alienating athletes with DSDs, as for some their intersexuality does not become known until puberty or even during adulthood.

They may have been raised as a certain sex their entire life, and therefore forcing them to compete in a completely separate category of competition would be both unfair and unethical. Additionally, the terms ‘DSD’ and ‘intersexuality’ broadly cover many different types of biological variations, making it hugely problematic to subject all intersex athletes to standardized regulations.

There is no simple answer to this debate, and a satisfactory solution will not be found in the foreseeable future; our scientific knowledge simply remains lacking, especially in the field of athletic performance. A good first step would be to eliminate the non-physiological contributors to performance differences between the sexes by increasing both the investment in and marketing of women’s sport.

As a result, the physiological contributors to performance differences would be better elucidated and thus inform policy making. Meanwhile, World Athletics must address the ambiguities and contradictions in its existing DSD regulations.

But most importantly, the underlying science behind intersexuality and the nitty-gritty details of DSD rules need to be better communicated to the general public. Only then can we have meaningful conversations that strive towards the most fair and ethical way to classify athletes according to their abilities.

Source: varsity.co.uk

Caster Semenya’s lawyers want answers from World Athletics after ‘misleading’ study stopped her competing

Caster Semenya’s lawyers have questioned why World Athletics have waited until after the Tokyo Olympics before releasing a bombshell report that admits the findings that triggered controversial regulations banning women with naturally elevated testosterone from international events are “misleading”.

Semenya was not allowed to defend her double Olympic 800 metres title in Tokyo under rules prohibiting athletes with Differences of Sexual Development (DSD) from competing at distances from 400m to one mile unless they take hormone-lowering medication.

But World Athletics are facing fresh calls from her legal representatives to scrap the regulation after the governing body’s scientists admitted their findings are based on evidence that was “exploratory, nothing else”.

That ruling was based on evidence published by two World Athletics scientists in 2017, which found a performance increase in females with high testosterone levels over those with low levels of 1.8 per cent for 800m and 2.7 per cent for 400m.

However, the British Journal of Sports Medicine – which published the original evidence – has now released a “correction” to that 2017 paper, causing campaigners to argue the rules should be ditched immediately. Semenya’s lawyers have also questioned why it was not released until days after the Olympics concluded.

Discussing potential links between high levels of testosterone and improved performance in women, Stephane Bermon, director of World Athletics’ Health and Science Department, and his predecessor Pierre-Yves Garnier, wrote: “To be explicit, there is no confirmatory evidence for causality in the observed relationships reported. We acknowledge that our 2017 study was exploratory.”

They add: “With this in mind, we recognise that statements in the paper could have been misleading by implying a causal inference.

“Specifically, ‘Female athletes with high fT [testosterone] levels have a significant competitive advantage over those with low fT in 400 m, 400 m hurdles, 800 m, hammer throw, and pole vault.’

“This statement should be amended to: ‘High fT levels in female athletes were associated with higher athletic performance over those with low fT in 400 m, 400 m hurdles, 800 m, hammer throw, and pole vault.’”

The scientists conclude that their findings are “on a lower level of evidence” and should be viewed as “exploratory, nothing else, that is, not confirmatory or evidence for a causal relationship.”

Semenya was absent from the recent Tokyo Olympics after unsuccessful challenges against the regulations at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and Switzerland’s supreme court. She is currently awaiting a hearing at the European Court of Human Rights, although World Athletics has argued it would not be bound by any ruling dished out. The new report, however, raises serious questions about why this clarification was not made before the recent Olympic Games, which concluded just nine days before it was made public.

“This is very significant new information,” Semenya’s lawyer Gregory Nott, of Norton Rose Fulbright, told Telegraph Sport.

“We are in the midst of the European Court of Human Rights case and will be discussing with our London QC and the whole legal team how to introduce the information into the proceedings.

“World Athletics have recently given notice of their wish to intervene in the European Court of Human Rights proceedings and we would hope that they will now support setting aside the regulations.

“It is more than surprising that World Athletics did not reveal this evidence before the recent Tokyo Olympics and allow Caster to defend her 800m title.”

Roger Pielke Jr, one of three scientists who published a 2019 International Sports Law Journal paper arguing the original World Athletics evidence was “flawed”, also said the latest admission meant the rules should be suspended immediately.

“Corrections are common in research, as scientists are human and make mistakes, like anyone else,” he said. “But one of the most important features of science is that it is self-correcting, and mistakes are identified, admitted and corrected.

“But the correction published today is not simply the admission of an error in an inconsequential paper, it is an admission of error by World Athletics in the only empirical analysis which underpins its eligibility regulations for female athletes. The implications are massive.”

He added: “The correction offered today provides a very public test of the integrity of World Athletics. The organisation chose to base its regulation on a set of scientific claims. It now admits that those claims were wrong and potentially misleading.

“Doing the right thing in support of the athletes that it represents means changing course when the facts warrant.”

America’s triple Olympic champion Tianna Bartoletta said: “Improve the studies. And let that govern the policy. That’s not what they did though. And that’s what I’ve been angry about.

“I believe in not manipulating science, and I will accept what it tells me even if my heart feels differently. From the beginning they wanted a specific outcome and that’s not right.”

The Telegraph has contacted World Athletics for comment.

World Athletics president Seb Coe earlier this month said Christine Mboma’s surprise Olympic 200m silver medal showed the governing body was right to crack down on women with naturally elevated testosterone levels.

In April, Namibian 18-year-old Mboma ran the second-fastest 400m time in the world this year, only to then be told a fortnight before the Tokyo Games that she was banned from contesting the event due to her DSD status.

She made a late switch to the 200m and broke the world under-20 record with a jet-heeled late surge in the final to claim Olympic silver in Tokyo.

“It was pretty observable that [Mboma’s] last 30 or 40 metres were impactful,” said Coe. “But, actually, I think that vindicated the decision about the 400m. If you are finishing a 200m like that, it supports the judgement that was made.”

Upholding the rules in 2019, the CAS admitted the regulations were “discriminatory” and it had “serious concerns” over their application. However, it ruled that “such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means… of preserving the integrity of female athletics”.

Source: telegraph.co.uk

Namibian sprinters resurrect ‘paradox’ of DSD rules

The presence of Namibian teenagers Beatrice Masilingi and Christine Mboma in the Olympic women’s 200 metres final weeks after they were banned from the 400m due to excess levels of testosterone has reopened the debate about DSD athletes.

The two 18-year-olds are the latest to fall foul of the rules regarding female athletes with Differences of Sexual Development (DSD) after more than a decade of the sport’s authorities wrestling with the issue.

A DSD or intersex athlete is broadly described as one who has XY sex chromosomes, has a blood testosterone level in the male range and has the ability to use testosterone circulating within their bodies.

World Athletics (WA) tried to find a way to restrict such athletes from taking part in women’s races in a bid to protect what they described as the “level playing field”, bringing about the Hyperandrogenism Regulations in 2011, which set a testosterone limit for women athletes.

Indian sprinter Dutee Chand challenged the rules at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2015, and CAS suspended them, asking WA to produce evidence that increased testosterone levels gave athletes an advantage.

In the meantime, with the rules lifted, Caster Semenya and others were able to return to the track, with three DSD athletes sweeping the 800m medals at the Rio Olympics.

WA returned with data, widely criticised by some in the scientific community, to show there was an advantage in events ranging from 400m to a mile. They believed there was an advantage in longer and shorter events, but could not back it up, and reserved the right to add further events once they had more evidence.

CAS accepted this and in 2018, a new version of the rules banned DSD athletes from competing in races within that range, unless they took testosterone-reducing medication for at least six months beforehand.

‘PARADOX IN ACTION’

South African Semenya had been at the forefront of the battle since she blazed onto the scene by winning the 800m at 2009 world championships as an 18-year-old, and was immediately consumed by the debate over her gender status.

After she was banned, she initially followed that medical route but saw a marked deterioration in her performances, and instead returned to fighting for the right to race in her natural state.

She lost that battle – all three 800m medallists from Rio are banned from Tokyo – despite widespread support from the South African government, who claimed the rules were discriminatory towards African athletes, and others who argued they were a violation of her human rights.

CAS agreed the DSD rules were discriminatory but crucially ruled that the discrimination was “necessary, reasonable and proportionate to protect the integrity of female athletics”.

WA had always said it was fundamentally impossible to find a solution that would satisfy both sides, and came down in support of the tens of thousands of female athletes around the world at the expense of the limited number of DSD athletes.

“It is a sensitive issue but there are some contexts, sport being one of them, where biology has to trump identity,” WA said.

The issue appeared to have gone quiet after Semenya lost her latest court battle in Switzerland, but it re-emerged in June when Masilingi and Mboma, who had been in sparkling form on the European circuit, were withdrawn from the Tokyo 400m events after tests revealed above-regulation levels of testosterone.

They entered the 200m instead and have twice posted personal best times – Mboma’s 21.97 seconds being an under-20 world record – to reach Tuesday’s final.

“The paradox in action … where we know that testosterone confers advantages in all events, but the policy implies it exists only in some,” wrote South African sports scientist Ross Tucker in his Science of Sport blog.

“Thus an athlete is legal one day, illegal the next, depending on the event,” added Tucker, who described WA’s original study as “poorly conceived … and very (very, very) weak on the evidence.”

IAAF RESPONSE LETTER TO THE WOMEN’S SPORTS FOUNDATION AND ATHLETE ALLY

The IAAF has today responded to an open letter from the Women’s Sports Foundation and Athlete Ally, which requested that the IAAF rescind the new eligibility regulations for the female classification, due to come into effect on November 1, 2018.

IAAF RESPONSE TO OPEN LETTER

The IAAF has not and will never try to prevent women from participating in athletics.

In fact, the IAAF has been one of the foremost advocates for women’s sport for almost a century. It has long championed equal access to competition and equal prize money at a time when many other sports still discriminate in this area.

Contrary to claims made in an open letter written by the US-based Women’s Sports Foundation, the IAAF’s new female classification rule does not seek to prevent any woman from competing in athletics.

Under the Regulations, women with Differences of Sexual Development (DSD/intersex) will be eligible to compete in any event at domestic level. They will be eligible to compete in all but distances from 400m up to 1 mile on the international championship programme.  They will also be eligible to compete in those distances if they take measures to ensure their testosterone levels are under 5nmol/L (which puts them on an even playing field with the rest of the female population).  They will be eligible to compete in male and intersex competition. The choice is theirs.

The IAAF seeks only to maintain a fair and meaningful category for women to compete in athletics. It makes no judgment about gender or sexual identity.  It has only acted upon the scientific evidence established by esteemed scientists around the world, which shows that i) there is correlation between testosterone and performance in at least certain specific athletic events, ii) women who produce testosterone in the normal male range, and are androgen-sensitive, thereby enjoy a substantial physical advantage over women who produce testosterone in the normal female range.

The women’s category of sport is by nature a restricted category. Without limits, it would cease to exist and it is the responsibility of the sport’s governing body to establish those limits.

In the same way, under 20 competition is restricted to those athletes who are under 20, because those who are over 20 have a natural biological advantage over younger athletes who are still developing into adults.

Sports that have weight divisions to establish fair competition also impose limits that require some athletes, male and female, to change their body composition in order to abide by the rules of that event.

This rule has been established under the same principles that have governed fair competition in sport throughout its history.

The IAAF has been a leading supporter of women in sport for most of its long history and will continue to be.

IAAF legal expert resigns over new hyperandrogenism rule

A South African legal expert has resigned from the IAAF’s disciplinary tribunal in protest at a new hyperandrogenism rule that could result in bans for some female athletes unless they undergo testosterone-reducing treatment.

Law professor Steve Cornelius was appointed to the International Association of Athletics Federations tribunal late last year.

He said in his resignation letter that he could not in good conscience continue to associate himself with “an organization that insists on ostracizing certain individuals, all of them female, for no reason other than being what they were born to be.”

He added: “On deep moral grounds I cannot see myself being part of a system in which I may well be called upon to apply regulations which I deem to be fundamentally flawed and most likely unlawful in various jurisdictions across the globe.”

The letter was published on Twitter on Tuesday by sports lawyer Gregory Ioannidis, who described himself as a colleague of Cornelius.

Reuters has contacted the IAAF, athletics’ global governing body, to request comment on the resignation.

The new hyperandrogenism rule, which was announced by the governing IAAF last week, has put the spotlight back on South African Caster Semenya, whose long reign as the queen of middle distance running looks set to be ended.

Cornelius’ letter of resignation, which was addressed to IAAF president Sebastian Coe, follows Monday’s call by Canada’s athletics federation for a rigorous review of the new rules on hyperandrogenism.

The new regulations lay down a series of criteria for athletes with a Difference of Sexual Development (DSD) to be eligible to compete internationally in certain events.

The rules would effectively force South African double Olympic champion Semenya to lower her levels of testosterone in order to compete.

The 27-year-old has faced years of complaints that her hyperandrogenism gave her an unfair competitive advantage.

The condition is characterized by higher than usual levels of testosterone, a hormone that increases muscle mass, strength and hemoglobin, which affects endurance.

South Africa’s sports minister Tokozile Xasa has said she is seeking to take up the matter with the IAAF and the country’s ruling party, the African National Congress, called the policy “blatantly racist” last week.

The new rule comes into effect in November unless overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Athletics authorities have struggled to find a solution to the issue that respected the rights of Semenya while also providing what they say is a “level playing field”.

Source: reuters.com

Council backs IAAF on Transfer of Allegiance work

The European Athletics Council has backed the IAAF’s continuing work on the important issue of athlete transfer of allegiance but called for the minimum waiting period for an athlete to switch nationality to be increased from three to four years.

At its 151st Council meeting in Berlin this weekend, the Council welcomed an update from President Svein Arne Hansen – an IAAF Council member – on the world governing body’s new regulations on transfer of allegiance to ensure the integrity of competitions and athlete welfare, including a minimum waiting period before a transferred athlete can represent his/her country in major championships and the creation of a panel to review the credibility of applications.

President Hansen, sitting alongside IAAF President and ex officio European Athletics Council member Sebastian Coe, said: “The European Athletics Council has agreed that the European representatives on the IAAF Council should insist on a waiting period of at least four years and calls on all members of the IAAF Council to support the proposal.”

The Council also welcomed IAAF’s new eligibility regulations that seek to facilitate the participation in the sport of athletes with DSDs (Differences of Sexual Development) on terms that preserve fair and meaningful competition in the female classification.

In other news, the Council awarded the Polish city of Torun the 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships.

The Council also received reports from the Chairs of the Event and Competition, Development, Strategic Communications and Medical & Antidoping Commissions.

Source: european-athletics.org

South African Government to appeal on new IAAF ruling which could jeopardise Semenya’s career

The South African Government are reportedly planning to lobby other African countries as they prepare to fight against the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) ruling regarding testosterone levels in female athletes, which could mean double Olympic 800 metres champion Caster Semenya is barred from competing.

The new regulations, which the IAAF Council approved in March and are set to be implemented in November, state that female athletes who have a Difference of Sexual Development (DSD) with circulating testosterone levels of five nmol/L or above and who are androgen-sensitive, such as Semenya, must meet certain criteria in order to compete at international level.

Such athletes may now be forced to take medication to reduce their testosterone levels to remain eligible to compete.

These rules for DSD athletes apply to those competing in races between 400m and the mile and combined events involving these distances.

However, 100m, 200m and 100m hurdles are exempt, as are races over one mile and field events.

Semenya has reacted to the news by posting a series of cryptic messages on Twitter, including one that says “I am 97 per cent sure you don’t like me, but I’m 100 per cent sure I don’t care”.

South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) party compared the new regulation to Apartheid-era policies and the South African Government are now said to be considering their options and are likely to lobby other African countries for support.

It has also been reported that the Government intends to contest the matter at the highest level of sport with the possibility of a case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport said to be on the cards.

ports Minister Tokozile Xasa confirmed that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will meet with Semenya, winner of Commonwealth Games gold medals in the 800m and 1500m at Gold Coast 2018, in the near future to discuss the issue.

“We want to brief the president that we are challenging the international platform,” she said according to Times Live.

“We want a position as South Africa to challenge this regulation.

“Caster has been winning.

“She has not been representing herself, she represents our country.

“We hope to look at other African countries.

“We will approach them and we must also get their support.

“It is not only directed  at us, it is going to impact other athletes coming from Africa, nowhere else.”

There have also been calls for the South African Olympic Committee (SASCOC), whose President Gideon Sam is on record as saying his organisation are “disappointed by the IAAF ruling”, to challenge the ruling.

As reported by Eyewitness News, Onicca Moli, a member of the Limpopo Sports’ Executive Committee, has urged SASCOC to do so immediately.

“They should immediately challenge these lousy regulations with the Court of Arbitration for Sport because, clearly, the IAAF is a megalomaniac bully that will stop at nothing to humiliate our golden girl,” she said.

Semenya hails from the Limpopo Province in the North East of the country.

In response to these reports, the IAAF told insidethegames: “Of course new sports rules and regulations can be challenged as they have always been through CAS.

“We stand ready to discuss our rules and regulations and the research and analysis that sits behind them with an organisation or individual if they would like to contact us.”

Support for Semenya has also come from outside of Africa.

Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, who won an appeal at CAS in 2015 after being banned from the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after the Athletic Federation of India claimed her hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a female athlete, has labelled the IAAF’s recent decision as “wrong” and has offered legal help to Semenya.

The Canadian Centre of Ethics in Sport (CCES) and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) have also spoken out against the ruling.

CCES President and chief executive Paul Melia said: “IAAF doesn’t place controls or limits on male athletes such as Usain Bolt or those who have genetic differences which may confer an advantage over others, in fact, they are typically celebrated.

“Women, on the other hand, are being scrutinized and forced to comply with policies that are arbitrary, overreaching and invasive.

“The sport community has a duty in this case to promote and protect inclusion and gender equity in sport at all levels.”

In a statement on their website, the CCES said: “The IAAF’s new policy also flies in the face of human rights, and particularly the various United Nations and International Olympic Committee undertakings that sport should be provided to all without discrimination of any kind.”

Source: insidethegames.biz