Caster Semenya celebrates winning gold. File Picture: REUTERS/STOYAN NENOV
Caster Semenya celebrates winning gold. File Picture: REUTERS/STOYAN NENOV

Johannesburg-based ProBonoMatters has launched an online petition against new rules of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that seek to regulate female testosterone levels.

"The petition is also styled as an expression of solidarity for the affected group of athletes, like the South African Caster Semenya and the Indian Dutee Chand‚" the organisation said.

"The new IAAF rules are deplorable for a number of reasons‚ not least bad science … and the total disregard of human rights. They must be stopped."

The petition‚ according to ProBonoMatters‚ is designed to galvanise solidarity across the globe as Semenya and other parties prepare to take on the IAAF through the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The new hyperandrogenism rule by the IAAF lays down a series of criteria for athletes with a difference of sexual development (DSD) to be eligible to compete internationally in certain events.

The rule applies to events from 400m to the mile‚ including hurdles races‚ 800m‚ 1,500m‚ and combined events over the same distances.

The IAAF’s medical and science department says it has data showing a significant advantage for hyperandrogenous athletes over such distances.

"These IAAF rules should not be allowed to stand as they are almost equivalent to the racial discrimination that condemned and excluded people from public life for their natural attributes‚" ProBonoMatters said.

"We are thus calling for all progressive organisations to get behind this campaign."

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