IAAF introduces new female classification rules

IAAF introduces new female classification rules

New IAAF rules require athletes with DSD like Semenya to take testosterone lowering drugs to be allowed to compete

The IAAF has approved and issued new rules governing eligibility of female athletes competing in the 400m to 1500m distances.

Under the new rules, athletes with Difference of Sexual Development (DSD) like South Africa’s Caster Semenya must take daily medication to lower testosterone levels in order to participate in 400m to 1500m races.

The new rules could affect the 800m Women’s race where Caster Semenya has reigned supreme in the last few years. However, those who do not wish to lower their testosterone levels are allowed to compete against men.

 According to IAAF Statement: ‘The new IAAF 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 recognized 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.

Female athletes who do not wish to lower their testosterone levels will still be eligible to compete in:

(a) the female classification:-

(i) at competitions that are not International Competitions: in all Track Events, Field Events, and Combined Events, including the Restricted Events; and

(ii) at International Competitions: in all Track events, Field Events, and Combined Events, other than the Restricted Events; or

(b) in the male classification, at all competitions (whether International Competitions or otherwise), in all Track Events, Field Events, and Combined Events, including the Restricted Events; or

(c) in any applicable intersex or similar classification that may be offered, at all competitions (whether International Competitions or otherwise), in all Track Events, Field Events, and Combined Events, including the Restricted Events.”

No tolerance on discrimination

IAAF has also warned against discrimination of athletes with DSD.

“We want athletes to be incentivized 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,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said.

“The IAAF regards it as essential to respect and preserve the dignity and privacy of athletes with DSDs, and therefore all cases arising under these regulations must be handled and resolved in a fair, consistent and confidential manner, recognizing the sensitive nature of such matters,” IAAF added

“Any breach of confidentiality, improper discrimination, and/or stigmatization on grounds of sex or gender identity will amount to a serious breach of the IAAF Integrity Code of Conduct and will result in appropriate disciplinary action against the offending party,” the statement concluded.

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