Athletics’ ruling body has insisted that it accepted Caster Semenya’s “legal sex without question” despite reports that its lawyers would argue that the Olympic 800 metres champion was a “biological male” who identified as a female.
A landmark case will hear how the International Association of Athletics Federations wants athletes such as Semenya, who was born with testes, to have their testosterone reduced to female levels before they compete internationally against women.
The Times reported that IAAF lawyers would argue that Semenya was a “biological male”. However, the IAAF has clarified its position in a statement, saying that it “is not classifying any DSD [differences of sexual development] athlete as male”.
A spokeswoman added: “To the contrary, we accept their legal sex without question, and permit them to compete in the female category. However if a DSD athlete has testes and male levels of testosterone, they get the same increases in bone and muscle size and strength and increases in haemoglobin that a male gets when they go through puberty, which is what gives men such a performance advantage over women.
“Therefore, to preserve fair competition in the female category, it is necessary to require DSD athletes to reduce their testosterone down to female levels before they compete at international level.“