At a meeting on Tuesday in London between the IAAF and Athletics South Africa (ASA), both organisations discussed their positions on the IAAF’s new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (athletes with differences of sexual development)(DSD).
President of Athletics South Africa Aleck Skhosana stressed that the Federation and the South African Department of Sport & Recreation and SASCOC had a duty to protect all athletes, including female athletes who may fall foul of these new regulations.
Commenting on the regulations, Skhosana said: “While we have been talking to the IAAF since 10 May 2018, we would have preferred more consultation in the development of these regulations. We will support our athletes on the grounds that the regulations discriminate against certain female athletes on the basis of natural physical characteristics and/or sex.”
IAAF President Sebastian Coe made it clear that no individual athlete has been targeted in the creation of the regulations and explained that the international federation for athletics and its member federations needed to ensure its sport is as inclusive as possible, but that there is also a responsibility to ensure fair and meaningful competition for all of our athletes to reward them for the huge commitment and sacrifice required to excel in the sport, and to inspire new generations to join the sport and aspire to the same excellence.
“To do this we need to create competition categories within our sport that ensures that success is determined by talent, dedication and hard work, rather than by other factors that are not considered fair or meaningful, such as the enormous physical advantages that an adult has over a child, or a male athlete has over a female athlete,” said Coe.
“We therefore need to come up with a fair solution for intersex/DSD athletes wishing to compete in the female category which is what the new regulations set out to do, based on the evidence the IAAF has gathered about the degree of performance benefit that such intersex/DSD athletes get from their higher levels of circulating testosterone,” added Coe.
The meeting was cordial with both organisations agreeing that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was the right body to arbitrate this matter and its final decision will be respected by both organisations.