17 August 2016

Testosterone Limits Should Be Imposed on Olympians

Testosterone Testing
When somebody competes in the Olympics, it is important to determine's one's biological makeup and sex to avoid undue advantage. Science clearly shows that men and women are different, hence cannot be treated on equal footing. Both have peculiar advantage over the other, hence they cannot compete on the same field and expect to have a competitive performance.

This is one of the reasons why Russian runner named Mariya Savinova conceded in her event after she saw Caster Semenya. "Just look at her," she blurted.

That was after Savinova lost to the South African in the 800-meter final at the 2009 world championships. The suggestion was as stinging because nobody on their right mind will think that Semenya is a biological female, which gave her an unfair advantage from elevated levels of natural testosterone. She also have a masculine looks, which proves that their is something strange about her biological composition.

The term "intersex" is used to describe variations in sex characteristics in someone who does not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. In sports, the issue centers on verifying the eligibility of an athlete to compete in an event that is limited to a single sex.

It is unquestionably a sensitive and complicated issue and one that has arisen many times at the Olympics and other sporting competitions where it has been alleged that male athletes have attempted to compete as women or, in Semenya’s case, that a woman has an intersex condition, which provides an alleged unfair advantage.

In the wake of Semenya’s case in 2009, testosterone testing was introduced to identify cases where testosterone levels were elevated above an arbitrary level, termed hyperandrogenism.

In April 2011, the IAAF announced it was adopting new rules and regulations governing the eligibility of females with hyperandrogenism, effectively meaning that there was an upper limit for women athletes’ testosterone levels – set at 10nmol/L – with anyone above it required to take hormones to lower them to more "normal" levels to compete.

That rule was in force until July 2015 and its reversal is among one of the key reasons why Semenya has returned to form in such emphatic fashion. The Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, who was dropped from the 2014 Commonwealth Games at the last minute, successfully appealed to the court of arbitration for sport who ruled that there was insufficient evidence that testosterone increased female athletic performance, suspended the practice of testosterone regulation and challenged the IAAF to present better evidence by July 2017.

In the meantime, it allows Semenya, Chand and other intersex athletes to compete without needing to take hormones to lower their testosterone levels. Maybe next time, countries should now inject their women athletes with testosterone as well.