Caster Semenya ‘set to be classified as a male athlete’ by IAAF

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will insist that South African Olympic champion and intersex athlete, Caster Semenya should be classified as a ‘biological male’ at a Court of Arbitration of Sports hearing due next week.

According to The Times, lawyers for the athletics’ international body will argue that the 28-year-old South African should be allowed to compete in women’s events if, as transgender athletes do, she takes testosterone suppressants. 

The hearing, which is set to last five days, is concerning Semenya and athletes with ‘differences of sexual development’ (DSD) and is likely to have a huge impact for transgender athletes in women’s categories, the publication added.

Olympic champion and intersex athlete Caster Semenya

The move is expected to divide views over whether Semenya and other DSD runners should be forced to take testosterone blockers, usually a contraceptive pill. 

According to Mail Online, the result of the 800m final at the Rio 2016 Olympics summed up the complexity of the issue. As well as race winner Semenya, silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and bronze medallists Margaret Wambui of Kenya, have also faced questions about their testosterone levels 

Speaking to The Times on the case, Jonathan Taylor, the IAAF’s London-based lawyer from the firm Bird & Bird, said: ‘If the CAS rules that legal recognition as female is sufficient to qualify for the female category of competition, and the IAAF is not permitted to require athletes of female legal sex who have testes and consequently male levels of testosterone to reduce those levels down to the female range, then DSD and transgender athletes will dominate the podiums and prize money in sport, and women with normal female testosterone levels will not have any chance to win

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