From Inside the Games

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has released a statement attacking the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) after it passed a resolution warning a new female classification ruling could break international rules on human rights.

As the world of sport continues to await a verdict in the controversial case of South Africa’s Caster Semenya versus the IAAF, the UNHRC passed a resolution first put forward by the South African Government calling on countries to ensure sporting organisations “refrain from developing and enforcing policies and practices that force, coerce or otherwise pressure women and girl athletes into undergoing unnecessary, humiliating and harmful medical procedures”.

Semenya, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and three-time world champion over 800 metres, is appealing against a rule brought in by the IAAF at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which, if upheld, would force her to either take medication to reduce her testosterone levels or compete against men.

The 28-year-old has hyperandrogenism, meaning her body produces unusually high levels of testosterone and the IAAF claims it gives her an unfair advantage over her rivals.

Their proposed rule would affect track events between 400m and the mile and they have previously claimed having athletes with Semenya’s condition competing against women with more common testosterone levels is comparable to adults competing against children.

While the IAAF insists it is acting in the interests of fair competition, its stance has caused significant controversy because Semenya’s testosterone levels are naturally occurring.

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