IAAF ethics found wanting

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has previously said it is confident of the legal, scientific and ethical basis for the regulationswhich will compel female athletes with ‘differences of sexual development’ (DSD) to lower their testosterone levels if they wish to compete as women.

Caster Semenya and Athletics South Africa (ASA) recently lost an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in their fight against the measures soon to be imposed by the IAAF.

The CAS three-panel judge ruling that while the rules are ‘discriminatory, such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF’s aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics in the Restricted Events’ is puzzling.

The stance by World Medical Association (WMA), which urged doctors not to enforce the new IAAF rules over their questionable ethical basis is commendable.

In the midst of all these, former 10 000 metres world champion Liz McColgan thencrawls from under whatever rock and suggest that there should be separate events for athletes with elevated testosterone. Her comments get more mindboggling as it turns out that her daughter Eilish, is one of those that Caster has showed a clean pair of heels on several occasions. Whilst we are at it, why don’t we introduce a separate event for males who might have low testosterone?

Caster’s legal team and (ASA) will be within their rights to challenge the CAS ruling. The whole thing is no longer about trampling her rights as a woman, but a human rights violation issue. 

Even though the regulations are not going to target Caster alone, my observation is that there is a lot of truth on that there are racial discrimination undertones targeted at her. By her own admission,‘We’re doing it for the next generation. We want to inspire them. I believe in my legal team, they will do their best to get me back on the track.’

Hope IAAF is prepared to deal with the crisis which might follow, while it is perplexing that they are ready to damage reputation of a brand built over 107 years.

By Malesela Maubane

@MaleselaB is a public relations strategist and President of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (@1PRISA). He writes in his personal capacity.

Vector by John Hain/Pixabay

Image created by élan Concepts

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