ASA pledge support to Semenya in wake of IAAF rule

Athletics fans may no longer see Caster Semenya competing in her favoured 800m-1500m events if she doesn't comply with a new IAAF regulation. ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Athletics South Africa has responded cautiously to new eligibility regulations from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), related to 'female classification' and testosterone levels.

The new regulations about hyperandrogenism will compel female athletes whose testosterone levels are above a certain level, like South Africa's Caster Semenya, to take medication if they wish to continue participating in certain events.

In a press statement, ASA recognised that the female classification process started years ago, up to the point that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) became involved, but stated that they would consult experts on the new ruling.

"As a federation, we will study the new regulations and compare them with the CAS recommendations to see if they are compatible and in line," ASA said.

The body said it would also consult with the Minister of Sport and Recreation, SASCOC, other relevant experts, in order to have a full grasp on the matter and how it should be properly handled.

"Once done, we will then interact with the IAAF. We want to state very clearly that we support all our athletes who may be affected by this new ruling," they added.

If Semenya and others opt not to take the testosterone-reducing drugs, they will either need to run in races longer than a mile, which rules Semenya out of her 800m and 1500m Olympic events, or be classified with male athletes.