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Semenya's athletics career at risk after IAAF introduces new testosterone laws

The new law will apply to athletes that compete in events from 400m to the mile, including 400m, hurdles races, 800m, 1,500m, one-mile races and combined events over the same distances.

South Africa's Caster Semenya competes in the semi-final of the women's 800m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on 11 August 2017. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The International Association of Athletes Federation (IAAF) has announced its new laws on female testosterone regulations, that will come into effect from 1 November 2018.

The new regulations require any athlete who has a difference of sexual development (DSD) that means her levels of circulating testosterone (in serum) are five (5) nmol/L or above and who is androgen-sensitive to meet the following criteria to be eligible to compete in restricted events in an international competition (or set a World Record in a restricted event at competition that is not an international competition)

The new law will apply to athletes that compete in events from 400m to the mile, including 400m, hurdles races, 800m, 1,500m, one-mile races and combined events over the same distances (‘restricted events’).

The new law stipulates that female athletes must adhere to the following rules:
(a) she must be recognized at law either as female or as intersex (or equivalent);
(b) she must reduce her blood testosterone level to below five (5) nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months (e.g., by use of hormonal contraceptives); and
(c) thereafter she must maintain her blood testosterone level below five (5) nmol/L continuously (i.e.: whether she is in competition or out of competition) for so long as she wishes to remain eligible.

Caster Semenya’s participation in future events could be at risk after last month’s proposal to limit naturally produced testosterone for women who participate in distances ranging from 400m up to 1,600m.

Semenya was previously cleared to compete in all events.

She is a double Olympic champion in the women's 800m and a three-time world champion over the distance.

She recently won gold in the 800m and 1,500m at the Commonwealth Games.