Semenya faces new hormone regime under IAAF hyperandrogenism rule
The International Association of Athletics Federations says athletes with the condition will be known as Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development
Caster Semenya will need to reduce her natural testosterone levels by use of daily hormonal contraceptives if her future times on the track are to be valid for record purposes — or if she intends defending her Olympic and world titles over 800m‚ according to planned new rules.
The IAAF‚ the governing body of world athletics‚ is piloting new eligibility regulations for a separate female classification to be known as an Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development (or DSDs)‚ which will directly affect Semenya, the Irish Times reports.
However‚ the regulations‚ expected to be confirmed on Friday‚ may end up in the Court of Arbitration for Sport if an athlete challenges them.
South African sports scientist Ross Tucker suspects a legal challenge may be mounted.
The regulations are set to come into effect on November 1 to allow female athletes with DSDs a six-month “compliance” period‚ whereby they must undergo the testosterone reduction should they wish to avoid having to stand down from competition once the regulations come into effect‚ according to the Irish Times.
The new DSDs rule also replaces the IAAF’s previous regulations governing eligibility of females with hyperandrogenism. The New Zealand Herald reports that the IAAF decision is expected to force Semenya either to take medication to reduce her naturally occurring testosterone levels or move to longer-distance events.
It said the new rules will apply to any distance from 400m to the mile‚ meaning Semenya could switch to the 5‚000m and 10‚000m if she refuses to take medication, which can be used on a daily basis in tablet form.
Semenya recently won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, winning the 800m and 1,500m titles in Games record times and also breaking Zola Budd’s 34-year-old national mark in the 1,500m.
Semenya‚ who is also the Olympic and world 800m champion‚ was first placed in the spotlight in 2009 with the IAAF saying she had undergone a gender verification process.
Apart from commenting to Dr Ali Bacher on SuperSport about the shame she felt at the treatment meted out to her‚ saying she felt stripped bare by the humiliation of the tests‚ she has not responded to critics on the gender issue.
Semenya told SA’s Sunday Times that her focus was to inspire girls from rural areas.
“It’s about the African girls from rural areas who do not believe they can do this. If you believe in yourself‚ anything is possible. This is to inspire them … to work hard‚ to believe in themselves.”