Caster Semenya. Picture: REUTERS
Caster Semenya. Picture: REUTERS

Female transgender athletes must lower their testosterone levels by half under new regulations introduced by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), bringing the rules into line with those for hyperandrogenous competitors such as Caster Semenya.

Under the new eligibility rules announced this week, transgender athletes are no longer required to be recognised by law in their new gender but only need to provide a “signed declaration” that they identify as female.

The IAAF council, which met in Doha, approved rules that require the concentration of testosterone in a female transgender athlete to be less than 5 nanomoles per litre continuously for a period of at least 12 months before being declared eligible. The previous limit was 10 nanomoles.

Athletes must maintain their testosterone levels below the 5nmol limit to keep their eligibility to compete in the female category.

“Under the new regulations a transgender female athlete is no longer required to be recognised by law in her new gender but should provide a signed declaration that her gender identity is female,” an IAAF statement said.

“She must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the expert panel that the concentration of testosterone in her serum has been less than 5nmol/l continuously for a period of at least 12 months before being declared eligible, and must keep her serum testosterone concentration below that level to maintain her eligibility to compete in the female category.”

Similar rules apply to athletes with differences of sexual development or hyperandrogenism, such as Semenya, SA’s double Olympic 800m champion who is currently ineligible to compete and was ruled out of the 2019 world championships. Semenya is taking legal action to try to reverse the IAAF ruling.

AFP