IAAF’s New Hyperandrogenism Policy… Why It’s NOT The End For Caster

Dr Ross Tucker weighs in on the IAAF's new hyperandrogenism policy, and what this means for Caster Semenya.


RW Editors |

The IAAF’s decision to regulate female athletes based on their testosterone levels is unlikely to survive if the matter is taken to court, RW scientific editor Dr Ross Tucker predicts.

The IAAF on Thursday issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) for events from 400m to the mile, including 400m, hurdles races, 800m, 1500m, one mile races and combined events over the same distances (‘Restricted Events’).

Ross, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the issue, says that the evidence used by the IAAF to regulate athletes with high testosterone is not strong enough to force Semenya to take tablets to reduce her testosterone levels or to ban her from competing.

“I will be very surprised if this new policy stands up to a legal challenge because, if anything, it’s a little weaker than the one that went before it,” Ross says. “So I fully expect that they (the IAAF) will implement, they will be challenged and then they will have to do away with it and, perhaps, that will finally bring an end to this controversy.”

In his vlog, The Four Minute Mull, Ross goes into the history and detail regarding the case against Semenya and the timelines of tests involving athletes with a condition known as hyperandrogenism.

See the full vlog here:

 

Here’s the official press release from the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations), the world governing body for athletics:

The IAAF this week issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) for events from 400m to the mile, including 400m, hurdles races, 800m, 1500m, one mile races and combined events over the same distances (‘Restricted Events’).

The new Regulations require any athlete who has a Difference of Sexual Development (DSD) that means her levels of circulating testosterone (in serum) are five (5) nmol/L or above and who is androgen-sensitive to meet the following criteria to be eligible to compete in Restricted Events in an International Competition (or set a World Record in a Restricted Event at competition that is not an International Competition):

(a) she must be recognised at law either as female or as intersex (or equivalent);

(b) she must reduce her blood testosterone level to below five (5) nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months (e.g., by use of hormonal contraceptives); and

(c) thereafter she must maintain her blood testosterone level below five (5) nmol/L continuously (ie: whether she is in competition or out of competition) for so long as she wishes to remain eligible.

These new Regulations, approved by the IAAF Council in March, will come into effect from 1 November 2018 and replace the previous Regulations Governing Eligibility of Females with Hyperandrogenism to Compete in Women’s Competition, which no longer apply anywhere in the sport.

RW Scientific Editor Dr Ross Tucker has a BSc (Med) (Hons) Exercise Science Degree and PhD from the Sports Science Institute. Visit him at www.sportsscientists.com.

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