live Infotainment Factory: Aussie rival slams Semenya IAAF ruling

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Thursday, 2 May 2019

Aussie rival slams Semenya IAAF ruling


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Double Olympic champion Caster Semenya will take part in what will likely be her last 800m event on Friday at the Diamond League meeting in Doha, before the IAAF's rules come into affect which imposes hugely controversial new rules limiting testosterone in female athletes.

Semenya and any other female athletes with elevated testosterone must begin taking medication to lower their levels if they wish to compete at distances of between 400m and 1500m, pretty much every event that Semenya has competed and won gold in.

Under the rules to take effect on May 8, female athletes with high natural levels of testosterone must medically limit that level to under 5 nmol/L, which is double the normal female range of below 2 nmol/L.

To defend her title at the world championships in September, the 28-year-old will now have to take medication. She is now weighing an appeal.

The case is likely to have far-reaching consequences for women's sport, and has split opinion around the globe.

One of Semenya's former rivals has called for more understanding around the issue, after initially admitting to resenting the South African champion following her loss to Semenya at the World Championships in 2009.

Australian Madeleine Pape, admitted to having 'a lack of senstivity' about the issue but then had a change of heart about Semenya's plight and has become a fierce advocate for the Olympic gold-medalist. 

Pape told Canadian radio station CBC, she was driven by emotion at the time and only after doing her research, she gained a deeper level of understanding about the issue and what Semenya was going through.

"I now don't feel that there's any place for these kinds of rules in women's sport," Pape said.

"And I think it's actually in the interests of women athletes to not be trying to impede the performances of superstars like Caster Semenya.

"Athletic performance is very complicated," she added. "It's impacted by a whole range of different factors and testosterone is just one of those factors.

"So to be able to come up with clear measures of exactly how much it's affecting athletic ability is a very big challenge."

Australian track coach Nic Bideau, who has been described as the driving force behind Cathy Freeman's Olympic triumph in 2000, said he was conflicted by the decision and Semenya's predicament. Bideau claims the decision sends the wrong message about taking drugs in sport, yet he's unsure about how to deal with the situation.

"This is the one factor that I see so distasteful in all this: that Caster will be required to take drugs to alter her natural body to continue competing in events 400 metres to the mile, when everywhere else we are taught that there is no place for drugs in sport," Bideau wrote in an article for the Player's Voice.

"I am sure everyone wants to see Caster have the right to compete in sports and I don’t know of anyone who is comfortable with her being told to take drugs or be denied this opportunity.

"But I am yet to hear of another way for Caster to continue racing in her best events in a fair competition with other women."

Speaking ahead of the Diamond League in Doha, IAAF president Sebastian Coe said he was "grateful" that CAS had upheld the original ruling.

"It's pretty straightforward. Athletics has two classifications, it has age and gender," Coe told reporters.

"We are fiercely protective of both and I am really grateful the court of arbitration has upheld that principle."

Indian gender-row 100m sprinter Dutee Chand slammed the finding, but said Semenya has the support of her country and that her legal team will continue to push her case.

Chand, who is also androgynous, was allowed to compete last year after after winning a court appeal against IAAF regulations.

Chand successfully challenged the IAAF’s stance on hyperandrogenism, which paved the way for the world governing body to change its rules to target only middle-distance events, arguing these were most affected by elevated testosterone.

“See this is natural. To increase and decrease testosterone is not in our hand. Now medical scientists can guide her,” she said.

“It was my legal team that handled her case. The team that fought my case, I handed them over to Caster Semenya.

“I think she and her team will find a way out. She is an Olympic medallist and her country is behind her.”

The World Medical Association was heavily critical of the move and called for physicians to not take part in the implementation of the regulations.

Dr Leonid Eidelman, president of the international and independent body which represents physicians worldwide, told CNN: “We have strong reservations about the ethical validity of these regulations.

“They are based on weak evidence from a single study which is currently being debated by the scientific community.

“They are also contrary to a number of key WMA ethical statements and declarations, and as such we are calling for their immediate withdrawal.”

Double Olympic champion Caster Semenya will take part in what will likely be her last 800m event on Friday at the Diamond League meeting in Doha, before the IAAF's rules come into affect which imposes hugely controversial new rules limiting testosterone in female athletes.

Semenya and any other female athletes with elevated testosterone must begin taking medication to lower their levels if they wish to compete at distances of between 400m and 1500m, pretty much every event that Semenya has competed and won gold in.

Under the rules to take effect on May 8, female athletes with high natural levels of testosterone must medically limit that level to under 5 nmol/L, which is double the normal female range of below 2 nmol/L.

To defend her title at the world championships in September, the 28-year-old will now have to take medication. She is now weighing an appeal.

The case is likely to have far-reaching consequences for women's sport, and has split opinion around the globe.

One of Semenya's former rivals has called for more understanding around the issue, after initially admitting to resenting the South African champion following her loss to Semenya at the World Championships in 2009.

Australian Madeleine Pape, admitted to having 'a lack of senstivity' about the issue but then had a change of heart about Semenya's plight and has become a fierce advocate for the Olympic gold-medalist. 

Pape told Canadian radio station CBC, she was driven by emotion at the time and only after doing her research, she gained a deeper level of understanding about the issue and what Semenya was going through.

"I now don't feel that there's any place for these kinds of rules in women's sport," Pape said.

"And I think it's actually in the interests of women athletes to not be trying to impede the performances of superstars like Caster Semenya.

"Athletic performance is very complicated," she added. "It's impacted by a whole range of different factors and testosterone is just one of those factors.

"So to be able to come up with clear measures of exactly how much it's affecting athletic ability is a very big challenge."

Australian track coach Nic Bideau, who has been described as the driving force behind Cathy Freeman's Olympic triumph in 2000, said he was conflicted by the decision and Semenya's predicament. Bideau claims the decision sends the wrong message about taking drugs in sport, yet he's unsure about how to deal with the situation.

"This is the one factor that I see so distasteful in all this: that Caster will be required to take drugs to alter her natural body to continue competing in events 400 metres to the mile, when everywhere else we are taught that there is no place for drugs in sport," Bideau wrote in an article for the Player's Voice.

"I am sure everyone wants to see Caster have the right to compete in sports and I don’t know of anyone who is comfortable with her being told to take drugs or be denied this opportunity.

"But I am yet to hear of another way for Caster to continue racing in her best events in a fair competition with other women."

Speaking ahead of the Diamond League in Doha, IAAF president Sebastian Coe said he was "grateful" that CAS had upheld the original ruling.

"It's pretty straightforward. Athletics has two classifications, it has age and gender," Coe told reporters.

"We are fiercely protective of both and I am really grateful the court of arbitration has upheld that principle."

Indian gender-row 100m sprinter Dutee Chand slammed the finding, but said Semenya has the support of her country and that her legal team will continue to push her case.

Chand, who is also androgynous, was allowed to compete last year after after winning a court appeal against IAAF regulations.

Chand successfully challenged the IAAF’s stance on hyperandrogenism, which paved the way for the world governing body to change its rules to target only middle-distance events, arguing these were most affected by elevated testosterone.

“See this is natural. To increase and decrease testosterone is not in our hand. Now medical scientists can guide her,” she said.

“It was my legal team that handled her case. The team that fought my case, I handed them over to Caster Semenya.

“I think she and her team will find a way out. She is an Olympic medallist and her country is behind her.”

The World Medical Association was heavily critical of the move and called for physicians to not take part in the implementation of the regulations.

Dr Leonid Eidelman, president of the international and independent body which represents physicians worldwide, told CNN: “We have strong reservations about the ethical validity of these regulations.

“They are based on weak evidence from a single study which is currently being debated by the scientific community.

“They are also contrary to a number of key WMA ethical statements and declarations, and as such we are calling for their immediate withdrawal.”

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