Caster Semenya faces 800m race ban unless she lowers testosterone

Caster Semenya faces 800m race ban unless she lowers testosterone

Caster Semenya faces 800m race ban unless she lowers testosterone

The athlete has made headlines after the IAAF issued new eligibility regulations for female classification which greatly impact her, among others (read the full story here).

At the IAAF council meeting last month the world governing body's president, Lord Coe, insisted it was important to protect the rights of female athletes by ensuring a "level playing field". "It does not want to risk discouraging those aspirations by having unfair competition conditions that deny athletes a fair opportunity to succeed".

South Africa's Caster Semenya, who is the world and Olympic champion over 800m and won the gold medal in the 800 and 1500m at the recent Commonwealth Games, is expected to be affected by the new ruling, which will come into affect on November 1.

It has also seen backlash spread across social media, with users calling the regulation "sexist".

Under the new regulations, slated to take effect from November, athletes who are classified in that category will be forced to undergo treatment should they wish to compete at global level from the women's 400m up to the mile.

Until now Semenya has not challenged the rule changes. Though the results of her gender test were never officially published, leaked results led to claims that the athlete has intersex traits and testosterone levels three times higher than in most women due to hyperandrogenism.

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Two-time Olympic gold medallist Semenya is among the athletes who will still be eligible to compete, but only provided testosterone levels are reduced to below five nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months.

- Dr Shuaib Manjra, Sports medicine specialistIf she reduces her testosterone level it will probably reduce Caster's time by 5-6 seconds.

"This is about our responsibility to ensure, in simple terms, a level playing field. Our evidence and data show that testosterone, either naturally produced or artificially inserted into the body, provides significant performance advantages in female athletes", he said. We draw the lines at two classifications for our competitions, men's events and women's events. "It's good for the sport", added Chemos who is the athletes' representative in AK.

It's worth noting that Semenya is not almost as dominant in the 1500m as she is the 800m, and managed just the bronze medal in the 2017 world final behind Faith Kipyegon of Kenya and Jenny Simpson of the United States.

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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