Published: Thu, April 26, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

IAAF issues new regulations for female classification

IAAF issues new regulations for female classification

The IAAF had introduced similar rules in 2011, after protests followed Semenya's sensational victory in the 800 metres at the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is expected to announce on Thursday new eligibility regulations for athletes with differences in sex development.

"In addition, the IAAF has gathered observational data about the difference in performance levels of DSD athletes depending on whether or not their testosterone levels are suppressed".

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"Like many other sports‚ we choose to have two classifications for our competition - men's events and women's events".

Caster Semenya will be unable to defend her Olympic or world 800m titles unless she takes testosterone-lowering medication, under new rules due to be announced later this week.

"All testosterone, either naturally occurring or artificially inserted into the body, provides significant performance enhancements", IAAF head Seb Coe said at the time, while also going out of his way to stress that nobody was suggesting Semenya had done anything wrong. The revised rules are not about cheating, no athlete with a DSD has cheated, they are about levelling the playing field to ensure fair and meaningful competition in the sport of athletics where success is determined by talent, dedication and hard work rather than other contributing factors'.

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It's not only Semenya who will be affected by the new rules with athletes in Kenya, Burundi and some eastern European countries also suspected to have high testosterone levels. Individuals with DSDs can have very high levels of natural testosterone, extending into and even beyond the normal male range. No female would have serum levels of natural testosterone at 5 nmol/L or above unless they have DSD or a tumour.

Female athletes who want to take part in worldwide events but do not lower their testosterone levels will be allowed to compete against men. It is for us to decide the rules, to draw the lines for competition.

This ruling comes after Semenya's stellar campaign at the 2018 Commonwealth Games - she broke two records in one race, taking gold in the Women's 800m in a time of 1:56.68 - a Commonwealth Games record.

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Only the IAAF medical manager can initiate an investigation in relation to any female athlete considered to be competing with DSDs, and therefore required to use hormonal contraceptives to bring her testosterone below 5 nmol/L, in order to compete in the new "restricted events": "no other measures are required".

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