Highly-criticised world athletics body's rule could end Caster Semenya's career

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) plans to institute a restriction on the testosterone levels of female athletes in November.

If IAAF succeeds, it could dramatically affect the career of South African track star Caster Semenya, says sports Scientist Dr Ross Tucker.

Semenya won in the women's 800m final and claimed the 1 500m victory at the Commonwealth Games - both achieved in Games record times.

Read: Semenya completes Commonwealth Games gold double

Throughout her career, she has had to shrug off the ever-present questions about her right to compete as a woman.

According to Dr Tucker, the IAAF's plans to impose limits on testosterone in female athletes is inconsistent with their own evidence.

In 2012 an IAAF study found that female testosterone levels had the greatest performance impact on the hammer throw and the pole vault in the field events.

Also read: New IAAF study reignites debate of women athletes with higher testosterone

Despite this, the IAAF only wants maximum testosterone level limits for the 400m, the 400m hurdles, the 800m and the 1 500m races.

The policy has only gone part of the way to acting on their own evidence, which is why people are asking what is going on.

Dr Ross Tucker, Sports Scientist at The Science of Sport

The IAAF did a study looking at data from 2012 at the World Champs where they divided all the women competitors into three groups: high testosterone, average testosterone and low testosterone.

Dr Ross Tucker, Sports Scientist at The Science of Sport

Semenya last week went to the Gold Coast and won the 800m and the 1 500m.

Dr Ross Tucker, Sports Scientist at The Science of Sport

The problem is that they have got a policy that has been narrowed down and looks targeted specifically at Semenya.

Dr Ross Tucker, Sports Scientist at The Science of Sport

Dr Tucker explains the technicalities of the testosterone restriction and the impending arbitration process.

Take a listen to his expert sporting analysis:


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