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Semenya could run up to 7 seconds slower

by Staff Reporter
27 April 2018 | 2576 Views
CAPE TOWN - South Africa's Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya could run up to seven seconds slower under new rules requiring her to lower her natural testosterone levels to race internationally, a prominent sports scientist has predicted.

Under rules announced yesterday by world athletics' governing body, the IAAF, a separate female classification for an athlete with differences of sexual development (or DSDs) have been introduced.

Such athletes, including Semenya, will have to reduce and then maintain their testosterone levels to no greater than 5nmol/L by November 1, 2018 if they want to compete in events ranging from 400m to a mile.

Semenya is a double Olympic Gold medal winner (2012 and 2016) over 800m and won gold in both the 800m and 1 500m at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast.

The IAAF believes its new rules will "preserve fair and meaningful competition in the female classification" because female athletes with high testosterone have an advantage of up to nine percent over women with normal levels of testosterone.

The move, which is sure to divide opinion, was unanimously approved by the IAAF council last month.

According to the world-renowned sports scientist, South Africa's Ross Tucker, the effect will be significant on athletes such as Semenya.

"If this policy passes, then I would predict that Semenya will be five to seven seconds slower over 800m," Tucker wrote in a detailed analysis of the situation on Twitter.




Some female runners with naturally high testosterone levels will have to race against men or change events unless they take medication, under new rules issued by athletics' governing body.

The rules, which start on November 1, 2018, would apply to women who race in track events from 400m up to the mile.

The IAAF believes the new measures will stop women with high testosterone levels gaining a competitive advantage.

Olympic 800m champion Semenya is expected to be among those affected.

The South African runner has previously been asked to undertake gender testing by athletics chiefs, but no results have ever officially been made public.

Similar restrictions brought in by athletics' world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, were suspended following a legal challenge by the Indian sprinter Dutee Chand in 2015.

Olympic 800m Caster Semenya IAAF

Source: Sport24

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