International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)’s controversial Hyperandrogenism policy ÔÇô a policy which intends to force women athletes with high testerone levels to take medication to regulate the hormones ahead of competitions ÔÇô has attracted the wrath of International Working Group on Women and Sports (IWG).
This past week, IWG released a statement urging “the IAAF to reconsider and withdraw what it has termed ‘eligibility regulations for female classification.’” The policy has also been included as part of the agenda at the IWG World Conference which will be held on 20th of May. The side event will be held under the theme, “The High T Anxiety: The Controversial New Policy of The IAAF.”
In an interview with the IWG Secretary General Game Mothibi, she said they found it fit to get involved as the issue is unfair to female athletes. She also said women must not regulate their hormones as this is a naturally occurring action. The IAAF‘s Hyperandrogenism regulations applies only on women with higher levels of testosterone and hyperandrogenic female athletes are believed to have performance advantage over other athletes.
Activists from various organisations such as Athletics Canada, Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport (CAAWS), Women’s Sports Foundation, USA, and numerous organisations on the African continent have already rejected the imposition of the regulations.
She said IWG needs to send a strong message to IAAF so that they amend the policy. IWG is of the view that this conclusion was reached without regard to other factors contributing to athletic success including access to coaching, proper nutrition, training, facilities, programs of competitive experience, other biogenetic characteristics as well as other performance improvement factors.
Mothibi said as IWG, they are concerned that “only women face such scrutiny with no concern for ‘unfair advantage’ to males on any basis.’” Another query is that the regulations seem targeted at women from economically challenged countries who “face enormous pressures to do anything to continue athletic careers.”
Commenting on Caster Semenya‘s case, Mothibi said “IWG believes IAAF ruling that Semenya was above the permissible range of testosterone level required in female athletes was unfair on the athlete. IAAF rushed into the announcement without consulting, engaging and conducting further research of the matter therefore we will be challenging them to withdraw the policy,” Mothibi added.
The IWG side event on Hyperandrogenism at the IWG World Conference will be facilitated by Dr. Payoshni Mitra, Athlete’s Rights Advocate and appointed Advisor in Dutee Chand’s case and co-facilitated by former Australian athlete Madeleine Pape, who competed against Semenya at the 2008 World Championships.