IAAF regulations against Caster ‘unjust, sexist, dehumanising’ - Parliament

The presiding officers of parliament, have condemned the "discriminatory regulations" passed by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), which may affect South African athlete Caster Semenya’s competitive performance.

Under rules announced on Thursday by world athletics' governing body, the IAAF, a separate female classification for an athlete with differences of sexual development (or DSDs) have been introduced.

Such athletes, including Semenya, will have to reduce and then maintain their testosterone levels to no greater than 5nmol/L by November 1, 2018 if they want to compete in events ranging from 400m to a mile.

Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Thandi Modise have called the targeted introduction of the regulations as "unjust, sexist, dehumanising and should be condemned by all human rights proponents in the world".

"Physiques of African women have and continue to suffer unjustified and racially humiliating scrutiny and mockery. This must stop," parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.

Semenya is a double Olympic Gold medal winner (2012 and 2016) over 800m and won gold in both the 800m and 1 500m at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast.

The news rules directly impact Semenya, who will have to take medication to control her testosterone levels, due to her hyperandrogenism.

Hyperandrogenism is a medical condition that is characterised by excessive levels of male sex hormones, such as testosterone.

"Such an act should be rejected with the contempt it deserves as it threatens, not just Caster's career, but the sacrosanct principles of fairness, justice and equality in global sports," Mothapo said.

"The act also threatens the entire generation of young girls from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds who are inspired by her to break the proverbial glass ceilings in their careers of choice."

The Presiding Officers are calling on sister Parliaments under international legislative bodies such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Inter-Parliamentary Union to take a stand and reject the IAAF's "blatant old-fashioned prejudice, which has no scientific foundation".

Top international athletes, politicians and supporters have rallied to Semenya's cause against the new rules.

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