Marathon world-record holder, Paula Radcliffe, has once again chimed in on what the verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) could mean for women’s sport.
The ruling, which was initially scheduled for March 2019, is
expected before the end of April.
CAS will decide whether the International Association of
Athletics Federations (IAAF) can bring in rules forcing female athletes with
differences of sexual development (DSD) to take testosterone blockers.
Under the new rules, which will apply to women events
between 400 metres to the mile, athletes classed as having DSDs must reduce
their blood testosterone level to below five (5) nmol/L for a period of six
months before they can compete.
The rules have been criticised by many scientists. Most
notably, it is the IAAF’s own application of the rules in selected events that’s
The greatest difference in performance was measured in the
hammer throw and the pole vault. Yet, the IAAF did not include these events on
the list where “maximum levels” should be limited.
The 1 500m, for which no advantage could be found in
athletes with higher testosterone levels, is, however, on the list.
South Africa’s Caster Semenya took the case to CAS in 2019.
Radcliffe has previously admitted that the case was ‘sensitive’ and that it was ‘impossible to be fair’ to everyone. This time though, she went a bit further. Reuters quoted her as telling Sky Sports:
“The IAAF has come in for a lot of vilification but there are probably a lot of other sporting federations, particularly where its contact and a physical strength sport, who are really watching this.
“They want to see what it means for the future of female sport and also what it will do in terms of the whole transgender question.
“Will it open the door up there to transgender athletes actually being able to say: ‘You know what, we don’t need to bring our (testosterone) levels down either, we don’t need to have any surgery, we can just identify how we feel and we can come in and compete in women’s sport?’
“That would be the death of women’s sport.”
Radcliffe also bemoaned the abuse she has received on social
“A lot of these people that are attacking me wouldn’t stand in front of me and say those things to me,” Radcliffe added.
“It’s very dangerous because there are vulnerable athletes out there who can’t make the distinction between what’s reality and what’s not and what somebody truthfully stands by and someone just being a troll.”