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IAAF introduces new gender rules

PARIS, April 12- The IAAF on Tuesday announced the introduction of new eligibility rules for female athletes triggered by the controversy surrounding South Africa's 800m runner Caster Semenya.

Athletics’ governing body, in a landmark ruling, became the first sports federation to adopt a policy governing women athletes with excessive male hormones, a medical condition known as hyperandrogenism.

An IAAF statement announced: "A female with hyperandrogenism who is recognised as a female in law shall be eligible to compete in women’s competition in athletics provided that she has androgen levels below the male range (measured by reference to testosterone levels in serum)."

The IAAF decided to act after the case involving Semenya.

The South African teenager was revealed to be a hermaphrodite after the leaking of test results following her 800m win at the world championships in Berlin in August 2009.

The incident generated anger from the South African public and government, who rallied behind the athlete, and sparked a major gender review by the IAAF.

Semenya was cleared to compete as a woman in July, 2010, nearly a year after she shot to prominence.

The new rules are the result of an 18-month review by an IAAF working group and the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission.

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An independent expert medical panel has been established to make recommendations to the IAAF in any future cases that should arise to determine the eligibility of female athletes with hyperandrogenism.

The new rules come into force on May 1.

The IAAF added that it had also looked into the eligiblity of athletes who had "undergone male to female sex reassignment " and would publish its findings next month.

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