New IAAF rules on female classification


But, under the new rules Semenya will either have to take prescribed medication to compete at her event or move to longer-distance running.

Embattled South African athlete Caster Semenya has told journalists that "she has no time for nonsense", when asked about the impending IAAF regulations that could require her to take medication to reduce testosterone levels. Athletes that choose not to reduce their testosterone levels will only be able to compete in the restricted events at non-international events, compete in events other than the restricted events at global events or compete against male athletes in the restricted events at worldwide events.

An IAAF study published last summer found that elite female athletes with above-average testosterone levels enjoyed an advantage in the hammer throw and pole vault equal to that of 400m, 400m hurdles, and 800m runners, yet the IAAF's new rules do not include any sanction for the field events.

It has also seen backlash spread across social media, with users calling the regulation "sexist".

Such athletes, including Semenya, will have to reduce and then maintain their testosterone levels to no greater than 5nmol/L by 1 November if they want to compete in events ranging from 400 metres to a mile. What do the new rules say?

This is to allow female athletes with DSD's 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.

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"ASA further acknowledges that the IAAF Council has the authority to develop rules and regulations as the highest decision-making body between congresses past and future".

South African three-time 800m world champion Semenya seemed to respond to the news with a tweet including an emoji showing a stern face, accompanied by the message: "I am 97 per cent you sure you don't like me, but I'm 100 per cent sure I don't care".

"This is about our responsibility to ensure, in simple terms, a level playing field". It is for us to decide the rules, to draw the lines for competition. Like many other sports, we choose to have two classifications for our competition - men's events and women's events.

'This means we need to be clear about competition criteria for those two categories.

It pointed to their latest research which showed there is a performance advantage for females with higher testosterone over the track distances.

"We are concerned that the decisions have been approved without taking into account all factors", Gideon Sam said, adding that athletes' "dignity and human rights are at the top of the agenda". Athletes will not be required to undergo surgery to lower hormone levels.