Caster in the spotlight, again
JOHANNESBURG - The difference between a Caster Semenya whose testosterone levels are suppressed with medication and a Caster Semenya who runs with what mother nature gave her is between six and seven seconds over in an 800m race.
It follows that if the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) succeeds in November in again instituting a restriction on the testosterone levels of female athletes, it would cast a dark cloud over the South African star’s career, said sports psychologist Ross Tucker.
Last month, the IAAF’s council decided to again institute a limit on the testosterone levels of women who run in certain events. The limit applied between 2011 and 2015. Only four items were singled out – the 400m, the 400m hurdles, the 800m and the 1 500m races.
Despite the fact that the greatest difference in performance was measured in the hammer throw and the pole vault, these events were not included on the list of those the IAAF wants maximum testosterone level limits for. The 1 500m, for which no advantage could be found in athletes with higher testosterone levels, is, however, on the list. This week, Semenya won gold at the Commonwealth Games in the 800m and the 1 500m, breaking Commonwealth records in both races. Tucker said the new policy could well be specifically targeting Semenya. “The IAAF did something strange. They drop the hammer and pole vault and add in the 1 500m. Why? There’s no reason to do that. If the premise driving the policy is that high testosterone gives an advantage, and your policy is aimed at ensuring fairness, then you can apply it where you have evidence,” he said. City Press
IN SPOTLIGHT: South African athlete Caster Semenya.