Global medical body rejects unethical Caster Semenya rules


Pic: Citizen59

The World Medical Association (WMA) has urged its members to refuse to implement discriminatory regulations that aim to inhibit Caster Semenya’s natural running talents.

The organisation, which represents more than ten million physicians around the globe, issued a statement advising medical practitioners “to take no part in implementing new eligibility regulations for classifying female athletes.”

The position was taken after the Court of Arbitration for Sport backed a new IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) policy requiring women athletes with specific differences in sex development to medically reduce their natural blood testosterone.

“We have strong reservations about the ethical validity of these regulations,” said WMA President, Dr Leonid Eidelman. “They are based on weak evidence from a single study, which is currently being widely debated by the scientific community. They are also contrary to a number of key WMA ethical statements and declarations, and as such we are calling for their immediate withdrawal.”

South African Olympian Caster Semenya had challenged the regulations, arguing that they are a violation of her human rights. While the CAS acknowledged that the policy is discriminatory, it ruled that it is still “necessary, reasonable and proportionate.”

As a result, Semenya will have to undergo medical intervention to lower the amount of testosterone in her body in order to be allowed to compete against other women.

The 28-year-old LGBTQ champion has been embroiled in controversy and humiliating speculation since 2009 over claims that she has an unfair advantage because of elevated testosterone levels. Semenya and her supporters argue, however, that her talents are natural and that she should be allowed to run as she is.

Semenya has 30 days to appeal the court’s ruling and has remained defiant, insisting that she will not take any medication to change her hormones. “Hell no, that’s an illegal method,” she asserted.

Semenya earlier said: “The decision of the CAS will not hold me back. I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world.”

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