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Volume 7 No. 149

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The IAAF "emphatically rejected a report" that it wants women’s Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya to be "classified as a biological male when her landmark case is heard next week," according to Sean Ingle of the London GUARDIAN. The organization said that it was "not classifying any athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) as male." The IAAF added that it "accepted their legal sex without question" and would allow all of them to continue to compete in the female category. However, it wants the Court of Arbitration for Sport to rule that DSD athletes such as Semenya, "who was reportedly born with testes, must have their testosterone reduced to female levels" before they compete internationally to "ensure fairness with other women." Explaining its position, the IAAF said, "If a DSD athlete has testes and male levels of testosterone, they get the same increases in bone and muscle size and strength and increases in haemoglobin that a male gets when they go through puberty, which is what gives men such a performance advantage over women." The IAAF’s lawyer, Jonathan Taylor, said that the initial story "was a mischaracterisation of the IAAF’s case." He said, "The IAAF has not said that DSD athletes should be classified as male. That is what Caster Semenya’s lawyers say our case is, because they think that will help them before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but that is not our case" (GUARDIAN, 2/13). The BBC reported the IAAF intended to bring in new rules on Nov. 1, 2018, but "put that back" to March 26 to "wait for the outcome of the legal challenge from Semenya and Athletics South Africa." The rules will apply to women in track events from 400m up to the mile and require that athletes have to keep their testosterone levels below a prescribed amount "for at least six months prior to competing" (BBC, 2/14).