Semenya's battle against IAAF puts spotlight on sports categories, says expert

Sports medicine specialist Dr Shuaib Manjra says Caster Semenya's legal fight against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has put the limitations of sports categories in sharp focus.

The Olympic 800 metres champion is headed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday to challenge proposed rules that could force her to lower her testosterone levels.

Read: Messages of support pour in for Caster Semenya in her battle against the IAAF

The star athlete could potentially be barred from competing in certain races due to proposed IAAF regulations, which she feels are specifically targeted at her.

Dr Manjra, a board member of the SA Institute Of Drug-Free Sport (Saids), says this may force sports bodies to reflect on how biological differences are defined and categorised between athletes.

He says it's also important to examine how these biological differences are measured in sport and if they create any unfair advantages.

Dr Manjra says the IAAF has the challenging task of regulating sport, to ensure a levelled playing field, while navigating the complex terrain of sexual development.

Also read: 'Semenya is not alone in the battle against IAAF proposed regulations'

People trying to simplify this issue are ignoring the complexities of what the IAAF needs to do.

Dr Shuaib Manjra, Sports medicine specialist

The challenge is that we are getting athletes like Caster Semenya who are crossing over to what we traditionally know as male levels of testosterone.

Dr Shuaib Manjra, Sports medicine specialist

The problem is we don't have a category for these athletes.... As long as we don't have a category these athletes should be allowed to compete.

Dr Shuaib Manjra, Sports medicine specialist

Listen to the discussion on The John Maytham Show:


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