Female athletes with excessive levels of male hormones will require medical clearance to compete in women’s events under new rules adopted on Tuesday by track and field’s governing body.
The IAAF became the first international sports federation to approve new rules on the eligibility of female athletes with “hyperandrogenism” a condition involving overproduction of male sex hormones.
The rules are intended to avoid repeat of the controversy which surrounded South African runner Caster Semenya, who was ordered to undergo gender verification tests and was sidelined for 11 months after winning the 800-meter world title in 2009.
The IAAF worked with the International Olympic Committee, which agreed last week to adopt new rules.
The IAAF council said the rules will go into effect on May 1. The rule says that the difference between sporting performance between elite men and women is “predominantly due to higher levels of androgenic hormones in men.”
Women with hyperandrogenism will be eligible to compete in female competition if their androgen levels are below the men’s or, if within the male range, they have an androgen resistance which means they derive no competitive advantage, the IAAF said. Otherwise, they will not be eligible.