IAAF introduces new eligibility regulations for female classification

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LONDON, England, April 26 – The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) for events from 400m to the mile, including 400m, hurdles races, 800m, 1 500m, one mile races and combined events over the same distances.

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):

(a) she must be recognized by 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 (eg., by use of hormonal contraceptives); and

(c) thereafter she must maintain her blood testosterone level below five (5) nmol/L continuously (ie: whether she is in competition or out of competition) for so long as she wishes to remain eligible.

These new regulations, approved by the IAAF Council in March, will come into effect from  November 1, 2018, and replace the previous Regulations Governing Eligibility of Females with Hyperandrogenism to Compete in women’s competition, which no longer apply anywhere in the sport.

“We want athletes to have the incentive to make the huge commitment and sacrifice required to excel in the sport, and to inspire new generations to join the sport and aspire to the same excellence,” said IAAF president Sebastian Coe.

“As the International Federation for our sport, we have a responsibility to ensure a level playing field for athletes. Like many other sports, we choose to have two classifications for our competition – men’s events and women’s events.

“This means we need to be clear about the competition criteria for these two categories. Our evidence and data show that testosterone, either naturally produced or artificially inserted into the body, provides significant performance advantages in female athletes.

“The revised rules are not about cheating, no athlete with a DSD has cheated, they are about leveling the playing field to ensure fair and meaningful competition in the sport of athletics where success is determined by talent, dedication and hard work rather than other contributing factors.”

Most females (including elite female athletes) have low levels of testosterone circulating naturally in their bodies (0.12 to 1.79 nmol/L in blood); while after puberty the normal male range is much higher (7.7 – 29.4 nmol/L).

No female would have serum levels of natural testosterone at 5 nmol/L or above unless they have DSD or a tumor.

Individuals with DSDs can have very high levels of natural testosterone, extending into and even beyond the normal male range.

– African News Agency (ANA)