South Africa's 800 metres Olympic champion Caster Semenya will on Monday approach the Court of Arbitration for Sport to challenge proposed rules that would force her to lower her testosterone levels.
The rules proposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) would force so-called “hyperandrogenic” athletes or those with “differences of sexual development” (DSD) to take drugs to lower testosterone levels below a prescribed amount if they wish to compete.
Sports Science Institute of South Africa CEO, Dr Phathokuhle Zondi says although it believes these proposed regulations are targeting Semenya there are also other athletes who are affected.
As South Africans, we are invested in Caster Semenya because she is one of the athletes that is targeted and because she is our national pride and symbol of hope so we are bound to feel emotional.— Dr Phathokuhle Zondi, CEO - Sports Science Institute of South Africa
But I do want to make us aware that there are a number of athletes affected by these regulations.— Dr Phathokuhle Zondi, CEO - Sports Science Institute of South Africa
Zondi says there are three fundamental problems that the public has engaged on concerning the IAAF proposed regulations which impact on human rights.
- Testosterone occurs naturally. Is it fair to see a natural advantage as unfair
- The regulation rely on scientific arguments that are flawed.
- These regulations compel women who have no prior health complaints to undergo potentially harmful medical interventions.
These are three issues that physicians would like the IAAF to consider and potentially scrap these proposals.
When you interfere with somebody's natural physiology they are bound to affect the way they may perform as well as their mental health.— Dr Phathokuhle Zondi, CEO - Sports Science Institute of South Africa
To hear the rest of the conversation with Dr Phathokuhle Zondi, listen below: