Athletics

IAAF, ASA agree CAS must rule on female classification

Caster Semenya (AP)
Caster Semenya (AP)

Cape Town - Athletics South Africa (ASA) president Aleck Skhosana and IAAF president Sebastian Coe met in London on Tuesday to discuss their positions on the IAAF’s new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (athletes with differences of sexual development) (DSD).

ASA and the IAAF released a statement on Wednesday that sought to detail the meeting, and on the surface it seems that very little was achieved with both organisations agreeing that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was the right body to arbitrate the matter.

CAS's final decision will be respected by both organisations.

According to the statement, Skhosana stressed that ASA, the South African Department of Sport & Recreation and SASCOC had a duty to protect all athletes, including female athletes who may fall foul of these new regulations.

Skhosana added that he would have preferred ASA to have been consulted before the IAAF implemented the new ruling.

"Whilst we have been talking to the IAAF since May 10, 2018 we would have preferred more consultation in the development of these regulations," he said.

"We will support our athletes on the grounds that the regulations discriminate against certain female athletes on the basis of natural physical characteristics and/or sex." 

Coe, meanwhile, said at the meeting that no individual athlete had been targeted in the creation of the regulations and explained that the international federation for athletics and its member federations needed to ensure its sport is as inclusive as possible, but that there is also a responsibility to ensure fair and meaningful competition for all athletes to reward them for the huge commitment and sacrifice required to excel in the sport.

"To do this we need to create competition categories within our sport that ensures that success is determined by talent, dedication and hard work, rather than by other factors that are not considered fair or meaningful, such as the enormous physical advantages that an adult has over a child, or a male athlete has over a female athlete," Coe was quoted as saying.

"We therefore need to come up with a fair solution for intersex/DSD athletes wishing to compete in the female category which is what the new regulations set out to do, based on the evidence the IAAF has gathered about the degree of performance benefit that such intersex/DSD athletes get from their higher levels of circulating testosterone."

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