Caster Semenya vs the IAAF - there is no logic in it

Posted on 2 May 2019
Caster Semenya vs the IAAF - there is no logic in it

IAAF allowed to impose DSD regulations on female athletes

Ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport

According to today's article in the Sydney Morning Herald:

  • Olympic 800-metres champion Caster Semenya has had an appeal dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to halt the introduction of regulations to restrict testosterone levels in female athletes.
  • The court ruled the regulations were needed for athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) to ensure fair competition.
  • The rules cover events ranging from 400-metres to a mile.
  • Under the rules, female athletes who have high natural levels of testosterone will have to reduce their levels through medication to under 5 nmol/L, which is double the normal female range of 2 nmol/L.

Where's the logic?

These regulations don't really make good sense.

Apparently, if you are a woman with high natural levels of testosterone, you will not be allowed to compete in events from 400m to 1 mile unless you take medication to lower your testosterone.

The good news, though, is that you can have as much natural testosterone flowing through your veins and still be allowed to compete with other women in any other event in Track and Field i.e., 100m and 200m sprints, long distance races from 2km up, and all the field events, including shot put and hammer.

How on earth does that science work?!

Clearly, this campaign of the IAAF was targeting Semenya. That's why it really sucks. So, what happens if/when Semeya steps up to the 5km? By the way, she actually won the South African national championships track 5km a couple of weeks ago.

And, what is normal? 70% of young 800m female runners have higher levels of natural testosterone in their systems than their non-athletic peers. But, apparently, society and the IAAF think that's okay. As long as they stay within the IAAF limits and don't get too fast it seems that running slower than your potential is sometimes safer. How pathetic.

I really hope Semenya steps up to longer distances and struts her stuff. I can't wait to see it.

Where to next for Semenya?

In a statement, the 28-year-old said the IAAF's regulations "have always targeted me specifically For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger. The decision of the CAS will not hold me back. I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world."

Go for it, Semenya, you have a lot of women, including athletes, on your side.

Veterinary Specialist ServicesAuthor: Kara Gilbert
About: Kara Gilbert is a medical and health writer and the Founder and Principal of KMG Communications, a medical and health writing consultancy that produces high quality content for a variety of communication applications in medicine, health and sport health. Kara is also the creator of Heart Health for Athletes,where she publishes commentary on a range of sport health matters for recreational and professional athletes.
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