Is Caster's career on the line? IAAF introduces new classification rules

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Caster Semenya will need to reduce her natural testosterone levels with immediate effect, by use of daily hormonal contraceptives, if her future times on the track are to be valid for record purposes - or if she intends on defending her Olympic and World titles over 800m.

The ruling seems to target the hyperandrogenic Caster Semenya of South Africa, who is essentially unbeatable in the 800m against women when allowed to compete at her naturally occurring hormone levels.

Athletes who do not wish to undergo hormone treatments but want to compete in middle-distance races have the option of competing against men, or in a separate intersex category-an option which is not now offered at any worldwide championships.

In an announcement, IAAF President Sebastian Coe stated that the federation had a "duty to make sure a stage taking part in area". "It does not want to risk discouraging those aspirations by having unfair competition conditions that deny athletes a fair opportunity to succeed".

Semenya, double Olympic and triple world champion over 800m and who completed the 800-1500 double at the Commonwealth Games this month, responded to the new rules on Twitter: "I am 97 per cent sure you don't like me but I'm 100 per cent sure I don't care".

However‚ the regulations‚ expected to be confirmed on Thursday‚ may end up in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), should Semenya challenge them.

It has also seen backlash spread across social media, with users calling the regulation "sexist".

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The new regulations about hyperandrogenism will compel female athletes whose testosterone levels are above a certain level, like South Africa's Caster Semenya, to take medication if they wish to continue participating in certain events. They will rule that Caster Semenya must take testosterone-lowering tablets or switch to 5000m.

The IAAF believes the new measures will stop women with high testosterone levels gaining a competitive advantage.

Coe was speaking after the IAAF Council announced last month that following a review of available evidence it would revise its regulations, with the changes coming into force on November 1.

'As the International Federation for our sport, we have a responsibility to ensure a level playing field for athletes. We draw the lines at two classifications for our competitions, men's events and women's events.

Sports scientists predict that Semenya, who now will be forced to lower her testosterone level, could run up to seven seconds slower, meaning she might soon miss podium places under new IAAF requirements.

"Our evidence and data show that testosterone‚ either naturally produced or artificially inserted into the body‚ provides significant performance advantages in female athletes. In no way are they intended as any kind of judgement on questioning of the sex or gender identity of any athlete".

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