SA athletics chief backs Semenya over IAAF testosterone rules

The powerfully-built Semenya is potentially the highest-profile female athlete that would be affected by such regulations.

Semenya, CAS said, sought a “ruling from CAS to declare such regulations unlawful and to prevent them from being brought into force. An arbitration procedure has been opened”.   -  AFP

South Africa's top athletics official has told the IAAF he would have liked more consultation before track and field's world body introduced controversial new rules on testosterone occurring in female athletes, which have since been challenged by Caster Semenya.

Semenya, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and twice world champion for South Africa over 800m, has gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a bid to declare as unlawful the IAAF's 'Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athletes with Differences of Sex Development {DSD})' that are due to come into effect on November 1, 2018.

The powerfully-built Semenya is potentially the highest-profile female athlete that would be affected by such regulations.

READ| Semenya targeted by new athletics testosterone rules

Classified as “hyper-androgynous”, athletes like Semenya would have to chemically lower their testosterone levels to be able to compete, something the 800m runner says is discriminatory and in violation of the IAAF's Constitution and the Olympic Charter.

Athletics South Africa head Aleck Skhosana, quoted after a meeting with IAAF president Sebastian Coe in London on Tuesday, said: “While we have been talking to the IAAF since May 10, 2018, we would have preferred more consultation in the development of these regulations.

“We will support our athletes on the grounds that the regulations discriminate against certain female athletes on the basis of natural physical characteristics and/or sex.”

Coe reiterated that no individual athlete had been targeted in the creation of the regulations, arguing that to establish a level playing field, the IAAF had to “come up with a fair solution for intersex/DSD athletes wishing to compete in the female category”.

Coe and Skhosana said the CAS decision on Semenya's challenge would be respected by both organisations.

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