Those who have always been in opposition to the controversial ban want the rule dropped
Two-time gold medalist Caster Semenya may now be able to compete at international events following an investigation that resulted in World Athletics admitting that some of their findings, which led to Semenya being excluded from the recent Tokyo Olympics, were “misleading.”
A new rule introduced in 2019 prohibits athletes with “differences of sexual development” from competing in races with distances between 400 meters and 1 mile if they don’t take testosterone-reducing drugs.
Semenya has consistently refused to abide by the rule, citing concerns they could be a danger to her overall health. She wasn’t allowed to compete in the Olympics as a result.
But now her lawyers want answers after this new discovery from the governing body.
The Telegraph reported that the evidence from 2017 claimed to show an actual increase in performance from female athletes with high testosterone levels. But a recent correction by the British Journal of Sports Medicine says otherwise.
Stephane Bermon, the current director of World Athletics’ health and science department, made a statement noting, “the paper could have been misleading.”
He explained further: “To be explicit, there is no confirmatory evidence for causality in the observed relationships reported. We acknowledge that our 2017 study was exploratory. With this in mind, we recognize that statements in the paper could have been misleading by implying a causal inference. Specifically, ‘Female athletes with high fT [testosterone] levels have a significant competitive advantage over those with low fT in 400 m, 400 m hurdles, 800 m, hammer throw, and pole vault.’ This statement should be amended to: ‘High fT levels in female athletes were associated with higher athletic performance over those with low fT in 400 m, 400 m hurdles, 800 m, hammer throw, and pole vault.’”
Campaigners who have opposed the rule want it to be dropped altogether.
Caster Semenya reacts before the women’s 5000 meter race in Regensburg, Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Stefan Puchner/dpa via AP)
Semenya’s lawyer said the announcement represents “very significant new information.”
“We are in the midst of the European Court of Human Rights case and will be discussing with our London Queen’s Counsel and the whole legal team how to introduce the information into the proceedings,” he said.
“World Athletics have recently given notice of their wish to intervene in the European Court of Human Rights proceedings and we would hope that they will now support setting aside the regulations. It is more than surprising that World Athletics did not reveal this evidence before the recent Tokyo Olympics and allow Caster to defend her 800-meter title,” her lawyer continued.
Semenya won a gold medal at the Olympics in Rio in 2016 and London in 2012. She tried to qualify for both the 200 meters and the 5,000 meters — both of which she was permitted to participate in — in Tokyo, but she was denied.
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