Athletics SA to take on IAAF over regulations aimed at Caster Semenya

03 May 2018 - 11:48 By David Isaacson
Athletics South Africa president Aleck Skhosana.
Athletics South Africa president Aleck Skhosana.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Athletics South Africa (ASA) says it’s prepared to go to court to challenge the IAAF’s new regulations on hyperandrogenism.

The federation said in a statement on Thursday it would engage the IAAF‚ the sport’s world governing body which last week announced that athletes with Differences of Sexual Development (DSDs) competing in events from the 400m to the mile would have to take medication to lower their levels of naturally occurring testosterone.

The rules‚ which are to kick in in November‚ were widely considered to target African middle-distance runners‚ especially SA star Caster Semenya‚ who has competed from 400m to 1500m.

Semenya has won international medals at 800m and 1500m since last season.

ASA said it had consulted with Sport minister Tokozile Xasa‚ the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc)‚ expert institutions and “other relevant organisations and individuals”.

“Based on this consultation‚ we have now taken a decision that we will challenge the IAAF on these new regulations as we have found them to be skewed‚” said ASA.

“As a member federation we will engage the IAAF as our mother body and if they do not change their minds on this new rule after this engagement‚ we will proceed to CAS for further assistance on the matter.”

The Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) threw out the IAAF’s previous rules on hyperandrogenism after they were challenged by Indian sprinter Dutee Chand.

The CAS told the IAAF it needed to prove that female athletes with higher levels of naturally occurring testosterone received an advantage.

The IAAF has effectively sidestepped the CAS by dropping the 100m and 200m from its requirements — Chand’s events — in the requirements for DSD athletes.

That means Chand’s case at the CAS has effectively ended‚ and the matter will have to be raised afresh.