World Athletics Announces New Rules Affecting Caster Semenya and Transgender Women

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World Athletics has published a new set of rules for athletes with differences in sex development (DSD) and transgender women that will come into effect from March 31, 2023. These rules will significantly affect South African athlete Caster Semenya, who has been fighting for the right to compete in women’s events without lowering her natural testosterone levels.

DSD Regulations for Female Athletes

Under the new DSD rules, athletes who want to compete internationally in any female event must keep their testosterone levels below 2.5 nmol/L for at least 24 months. This rule applies to all events, not just the ones that used to be banned. In addition, under the interim laws, athletes already competing must stop competing for six months until their levels drop to 2.5nmol/L.

World Athletics President Lord Coe stated, “In terms of DSD regulations, World Athletics has more than ten years of research and evidence of the physical advantages these athletes bring to the female category.”

Transgender Women Excluded from Female Category

Transgender women who have undergone male puberty will be banned from competing in international female world-ranking events. Lord Coe confirmed that this step has been taken to “protect the female category.” He added that the decision is based on scientific research and evidence of the physical advantage that such athletes have over their female counterparts.

World Athletics will further research transgender eligibility guidelines and form a working group to review its position within the next 12 months. But, Lord Coe stressed, “We’re not saying no forever.”

Russian Federation Reinstated

The World Athletics Council has agreed to reinstate the Russian Federation (RusAF) following its seven-year suspension for institutional doping violations. However, athletes, officials, and support personnel from Russia and Belarus will remain excluded from the competition due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Upholding Fairness for Female Athletes

Lord Coe acknowledged that decisions involving conflicting needs and rights between different groups are always challenging. However, he emphasized that maintaining fairness for female athletes is paramount: “The integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”

While the new rules will undoubtedly create controversy, World Athletics is committed to upholding fairness for all athletes and ensuring that the integrity of the sport is maintained.

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