New rules result of 15 years of work: Coe

Under the new IAAF rules, athletes such as double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya will be able to compete only if they take medication to reduce their levels of male sex hormones.
Under the new IAAF rules, athletes such as double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya will be able to compete only if they take medication to reduce their levels of male sex hormones.

IAAF chief says regulations to counteract hyperandrogenism are 'fair and appropriate'

LONDON • International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe yesterday struck a defiant note amid criticism of controversial new rules on testosterone in women's bodies, insisting they were "appropriate for the sport".

Track and field's governing body has come under the spotlight after unveiling the rules to counteract hyperandrogenism, the medical condition which causes some women to produce high levels of male sex hormones.

The rules, which the IAAF puts under the heading "Difference of Sexual Development" (DSD), cover events from 400m to the mile (1.6km) because the IAAF's medical and science department says it has data showing hyperandrogenous athletes have an advantage over such distances.

When the rules come into effect on Nov 1, athletes such as double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya will be able to compete only if they take medication to reduce their levels of male sex hormones.

The South African has long attracted debate because of her powerful physique related to hyperandrogenism.

The issue is controversial because it pits principles of fair competition against the rights of women born with the condition.

NOT AN OVERNIGHT DECISION

The regulations are very clear and they are really the culmination of 15 years of work here, scientifically reviewed.

SEBASTIAN COE , IAAF president, defending the controversial new rules on women's testosterone.

NOT TARGETING SEMENYA

She's (Semenya) just the person winning by the furthest, so people are pointing fingers at her. If this was one person, we wouldn't be facing this issue. We'd just let it happen.

PAULA RADCLIFFE , member of the IAAF Athletes' Commission, also backing the new rules.

But Coe, speaking ahead of yesterday's season-opening Diamond League meet in Doha, insisted the rules were fair and not something drawn up on a whim overnight.

"The regulations are very clear and they are really the culmination of 15 years of work here, scientifically reviewed," said the 61-year-old, who won two Olympic 1,500m golds for Britain.

"There's a bit of a mistaken view that this is just one particular piece of work that has been showcased.

"That particular piece of work was in response to a very specific question that we were asked and that was about performance enhancement in testosterone.

"But 15 years of work across this were enough to give the council comfort that these regulations are appropriate for the sport."

Paula Radcliffe, the women's marathon world-record holder and member of the IAAF Athletes' Commission, has also backed the new rules, saying that they were not aimed at Semenya.

"It has been made with the IAAF trying to make it fair for the majority," the Briton told Press Association Sport on Thursday.

"She's (Semenya) just the person winning by the furthest, so people are pointing fingers at her. If this was one person, we wouldn't be facing this issue. We'd just let it happen."

The new rules are, however, set to hit a legal roadblock after the South African athletics federation on Thursday called them "skewed" and vowed to challenge the measures at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Elsewhere, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) yesterday admitted that 1,500m runner Asbel Kiprop was warned about a drug test in advance - in violation of World Anti-Doping Agency rules - but has rejected his sensational claim that the failed sample was tampered with and endurance-boosting drug EPO was added to it.

The body also dismissed suggestions from the Kenyan, a three-time world champion and Beijing Games gold medallist, that he had been offered an IAAF ambassadorship if he accepted a doping ban.

The AIU did not, however, respond to claims from Kiprop that he had given money to doping control officers when they carried out his test last November.

In a statement, the AIU confirmed that EPO had been detected in Kiprop's urine sample on Nov 27, 2017, that he was notified about the failed test on Feb 3, and that he was charged with violating the IAAF's anti-doping rules on March 16.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2018, with the headline 'New rules result of 15 years of work: Coe'. Print Edition | Subscribe