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Athletics SA not shocked by breach of agreements by IAAF

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Athletics South Africa released a media statement stating that it is not amused that the IAAF has breached agreements on several accounts in the case of Semenya.

On Friday afternoon, 29 March 2019, Athletics South Africa (ASA) released a statement in which it condemned the behaviour of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) during its case against South African athlete Caster Semenya and ASA. Semenya had challenged a proposed rule by IAAF, which aimed to regulate participation from female athletes who are hyper-androgynous, whose bodies produce a high amount of testosterone. Semenya’s case is heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the ruling will be delivered at the end of April 2019.

Earlier this week, Semenya had, through her lawyers, condemned sentiments expressed by the IAAF president Sebastian Coe, who had given commentary about the proposed regulations in question. She said that the comments had opened up old wounds. Coe had told the Australian Daily that “The reason we have gender classification is because if you didn’t then no woman would ever run another title or another medal or break another record in our sport.”

ASA has come out in support of Semenya’s statement.

“We support the rebuke issued by Ms Semenya’s lawyers.  We agree that the DSD Regulations are discriminatory on a number of bases including birth, sex, gender, physical appearance, and the fact that they are restricted to specific events (namely 400m to a mile).

“Ms Semenya was born, raised and has participated in athletics as a woman, and identifies as a woman.  The Regulations attempt to classify her and other female DSDs as “biologically male” or as having a male “sports’ sex”.  The Regulations are nothing other than a further attempt (like other scientifically discredited attempts in the past) at so-called gender verification testing,” the statement read.

ASA had also stated that the public statements made by Coe in relation to the ongoing case were a breach of agreement as all the parties involved, namely Semenya, IAAF and ASA, had entered confidentiality agreements.

“Notwithstanding such an agreement, the IAAF have on several occasions (in breach of the agreement) issued public statements on matters relating to, and arising from, the Regulations.

“ASA would have preferred an open and transparent hearing of the matter given the (legitimate) global interest therein, but was persuaded that medically sensitive issues, and in particular, privacy issues relating to Ms Semenya, would arise during the proceedings, and that a closed and confidential hearing was appropriate,” it said.

Abenathi Gqomo
[email protected]

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