Cabinet slams new IAAF regulations

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Cabinet has joined South Africans in condemning what it has described as the discriminatory regulations passed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Under the new rules announced last week by the world athletics' governing body, a separate female classification for an athlete with differences of sexual development (or DSDs) have been introduced.

Such athletes, like Caster Semenya, will have to reduce and then maintain their testosterone levels to no greater than five-nanomoles of testosterone per litre of blood (5nmol/L) by November 1, 2018, if they want to compete in events ranging from 400 meters to a mile.

The IAAF believes its new rules will preserve fair and meaningful competition in the female classification because female athletes with high testosterone have an advantage of up to 9% over women with normal levels of testosterone.

But South Africa believes this is a witch-hunt which will impact mainly on African athletes.

“Cabinet calls upon South Africans to support all athletes that may be affected by these regulations both here at home and in the rest of the world,” Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said on Thursday.

She was briefing the media following the regular fortnightly cabinet meeting.

Cabinet went on to welcome the work being done by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa which appointed a high-level panel of experts in the related fields of medicine and law.

This panel will study these regulations closely and interrogate the scientific evidence that the IAAF had relied upon.

According to Minister Mokonyane, the panel “will evaluate all available research and scientific evidence as well as related ethical issues and use the outcome to challenge these regulations in the appropriate forums”. -