IAAF respite for athletes with DSD

The world athletics body has now delayed the implementation of its eligibility regulations for female classification (athletes with differences of sex development) from November to March.

Caster Semenya would have been the biggest star to suffer if the regulations were implemented.   -  AP

For all those athletes who had been worried about how November 1 would hurt them, there is some respite.

The IAAF, athletics’ world body, announced on Tuesday that it was delaying the implementation of its eligibility regulations for female classification (athletes with differences of sex development or DSD) from November to March to avoid uncertainty for athletes seeking to compete in the women’s category.

The new rules were supposed to come into effect on November 1, but with South Africa’s Olympic and World champion Caster Semenya, who would have been the biggest star to suffer if the regulations were implemented, going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the IAAF has now decided to wait for the CAS’ verdict.

The regulations require athletes with DSDs to maintain their serum testosterone levels below 5 nmol/L (nanomoles per litre) for at least six months prior to competing in restricted events (races from 400m to one mile, including both events) in international competitions.

The IAAF said it was confident of the legal, scientific and ethical bases for the regulations and fully expects the CAS to reject these challenges. But in the meantime, it felt that the uncertainty should not confuse athletes.

“Prolonging the uncertainty for athletes looking to compete in these distances next year and beyond is unfair and so we have reached a compromise with the claimants,” said Sebastian Coe, the IAAF President, in the federation’s release issued on Tuesday evening.

“We have agreed not to enforce the regulations against any athlete until the contested regulations are upheld. In exchange, they have agreed not to prolong the process. All athletes need this situation resolved as soon as possible.”

The CAS hearing will take place in February and a decision is expected by March 26.