Caster in the spot­light, again

Swazi Observer - - WORLD SPORT -

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.

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