Caster Semenya an affirmation of black excellence — Sports Minister Xasa

Caster Semenya faces new classification after IAAF ruling

The International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) new rules are a continued attack on the persona of South African athletics star Caster Semenya, the sports and recreation ministry said on Thursday.

The new law - which will apply to athletes that compete in events from 400m to the mile, including 400m, hurdles races, 800m, 1,500m, one-mile races and combined events over the same distances ('restricted events') - will come into effect from 1 November 2018. These distances, which synthesize the need for speed, power and endurance, are events in which raised testosterone levels can have the most profound influence on performances, the sport's top officials say. According to the IAAF, most women, including elite female athletes, have testosterone levels from 0.12 to 1.79 nanomoles per liter, while the normal male range is 7.7 to 29.4 nanomoles per liter. Since 2009, when it was found that Caster Semenya had naturally acquired higher amounts of testosterone, she has been subjected to an ordeal, including invasive humiliating procedures that are never used on men.

The IAAF believes the new measures will stop women with high testosterone levels gaining a competitive advantage.

No athlete, Dr Bermon said, would be forced to undergo surgery, adding that it would be the "athlete's responsibility to decide on her treatment".

Female athletes who want to take part in global events but do not lower their testosterone levels will be allowed to compete against men.

Olympic champion runner Caster Semenya could be banned from entering middle-distance races unless she takes medication to lower her testosterone levels.

Xasa said they would engage with relevant bodies to ensure that Semenya and other athletes, who are likely to be affected by the decision, were allowed to participate unhindered.

She is also a double 800m Olympic gold medallist.

BC-ATH-IAAF-Testosterone Rules, 4th Ld-Writethru, 501 IAAF rules to limit testosterone levels for female runnersAP Photo LON108, LON107Eds: Edits 1st paragraph. The 27-year old Polokwane-born athlete recently won gold in both 800m and 1500m races at the just concluded Commonwealth games. She has been publicly critical but complied with the new regulations in 2011 and in Australia last month hinted at a move up to longer distances, no doubt in anticipation of a development that is now expected to be confirmed this week.

Katrina Karkazis said: "Lowering testosterone can have serious lifelong health effects". However research by the IAAF since then shows that in certain events testosterone does make an enormous difference. "When you walk out of your apartment, you think about performing".



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