IAAF has new rules for female athletes with high natural testosterone levels. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

IAAF rules to limit testosterone levels for female runners

MONACO — New rules for female athletes with high natural testosterone levels could force two-time Olympic 800-meter champion Caster Semenya to stop running middle-distance races.

From Nov. 1, the IAAF will limit entry for all international events from 400 metres through the mile to women with testosterone levels below a specified level.

Women with elevated testosterone must reduce their level for “six months (e.g., by use of hormonal contraceptives)” before being eligible to run, and maintain that lowered level.

“We have a responsibility to ensure a level playing field for athletes … where success is determined by talent, dedication and hard work rather than other contributing factors,” IAAF president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “Our evidence and data show that testosterone, either naturally produced or artificially inserted into the body, provides significant performance advantages in female athletes.”

Semenya now faces taking daily medication or start racing at 5,000 metres. Without the rules, the 27-year-old South African would likely defend her 800 world title in Doha, Qatar, next year. She also took bronze in the 1,500 at the 2017 worlds in London.

In 2011, the IAAF enacted a rule to force athletes with hyperandrogenism to artificially lower their testosterone levels to be eligible to compete. Two years earlier, Semenya clocked a 1-minute, 55-second time to win her first world title as a teenager in Berlin. While the previous rules were enforced, her season-best times were around 1:59 or slower.

The previous rules were challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport by sprinter Dutee Chand of India and overturned before the 2016 Olympics. In Rio de Janeiro, Semenya retained her Olympic title, running 1:55.28.

On her Twitter account Wednesday, Semenya did not comment but posted an image of the statement: “How beautiful it is to stay silent when someone expects you to be enraged.”

The new IAAF rules could yet be challenged at CAS.

Still, the IAAF said Thursday there is “broad medical and scientific consensus, supported by peer-reviewed data and evidence” to back its position.

“There is a performance advantage in female athletes with DSD (Differences of Sexual Development) over the track distances covered by this rule,” Dr. Stephane Bermon, who works in the IAAF medical and science department, said in the statement.

Research over a decade showed 7.1 in every 1,000 elite track and field athletes had elevated testosterone levels — 140 times greater than the female population.

“The treatment to reduce testosterone levels is a hormone supplement similar to the contraceptive pill taken by millions of women around the world,” Bermon said. “No athlete will be forced to undergo surgery.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

Sunny weather improves farmers’ prospects

A harvester kicking up dust. It’s a picture that will bring a… Continue reading

Rural transit pilot project being considered

Penhold, Innisfail and Red Deer County councils to decide whether to go ahead with project

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia will head to the polls today… Continue reading

All sharks tagged in N.S. expedition can now be tracked on Ocearch website

HALIFAX — All six of the sharks tagged in Nova Scotian waters… Continue reading

Memorial service for former PQ minister Lise Payette today in Montreal

MONTREAL — Mourners will gather to remember former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister… Continue reading

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown… Continue reading

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Most Read