Caster Semenya 'forced' to reduce testosterone levels as IAAF introduces new regulations

South Africa's Caster Semenya (C) competes in the athletics women's 800m final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 13, 2018.
South Africa's Caster Semenya (C) competes in the athletics women's 800m final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 13, 2018.
Image: Adrian DENNIS / AFP

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Thursday confirmed that they have issued new eligibility regulations for female athletes with Differences of Sexual Development (DSD) for events from 400m to a mile.

The new regulations will have an impact of South African superstar middle distance runner Caster Semenya who will be forced to take daily testosterone-lowering medication to be able to continue competing in 400m and 1500m events.

The new regulations‚ which were approved by the IAAF Council in March‚ will come into effect from 1 November 2018 and they replace the previous regulations governing eligibility of females with Hyperandrogenism to compete in women's competition.

“We want athletes to be incentivised to make the huge commitment and sacrifice required to excel in the sport‚ and to inspire new generations to join the sport and aspire to the same excellence‚” said IAAF president Sebastian Coe in a statement.

“As the international federation for our sport‚ we have a responsibility to ensure a level playing field for athletes.

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

"This means we need to be clear about the competition criteria for these two categories.

"Our evidence and data show that testosterone‚ either naturally produced or artificially inserted into the body‚ provides significant performance advantages in female athletes.

"The revised rules are not about cheating‚ no athlete with a DSD has cheated‚ they are about leveling 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.”

The IAAF's actions are seen by many as attempt to target South Africa’s double Olympic 800 metres champion Semanya.

Asked for a comment on these developments‚ Athletics South Africa president Aleck Skhosana said they were working on a statement that would be issued later on Thursday.

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