Athletics brings back hyperandrogenism rules

South Africa's Caster Semenya racing against Lynsey Sharp at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.  Picture: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
South Africa's Caster Semenya racing against Lynsey Sharp at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Picture: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
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The International Association of Athletics Federations has decided to reinstate a revised version of its hyperandrogenism rules.

Suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2015, the rules were introduced in 2009 as a response to concerns about female athletes with naturally high levels of the male sex hormone testosterone, such as South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya, having an unfair competitive advantage.

As a result, female runners competing between 400 metres and a mile will be subject to a maximum level of testosterone. Any over the limit must medically reduce it.

The IAAF is confident this amendment will stand up to legal challenge but says the rules will be a “living document” that can be revised. They will come into force on 1 November.

The decision was made at yesterday’s IAAF Council meeting in Birmingham which also debated plans to tighten up the rules around transfers of allegiance.