Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field

IAAF will ignore court, apply testosterone rules to 1,500

​​​​​​​IAAF president Sebastian Coe says the sport's governing body will apply its testosterone regulations to the 1,500 metres, ignoring advice from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

CAS said there wasn't enough evidence to show Caster Semenya had an advantage in that event

In this February 2019 file photo, IAAF president Sebastian Coe leaves the Court of Arbitration for Sport after a hearing of South Africa's two-time Olympic 800-meter champion runner Caster Semenya, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Coe said on Thursday that the IAAF will apply its testosterone regulations to the 1,500 metres event. (Laurent Gillieron/The Associated Press)

Track and field's governing body will immediately apply its testosterone regulations to the 1,500 metres, president Sebastian Coe said on Thursday, ignoring advice from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The CAS said on Wednesday there was not enough evidence to show Caster Semenya and other female athletes with naturally high testosterone levels had a significant advantage in that event.

The CAS upheld the IAAF's rules limiting testosterone for athletes competing in some events, including Semenya's favoured 800 metres, in its landmark ruling.

But in a caveat to the decision, the Switzerland-based court specifically said there was "a paucity of evidence" to apply the rules to the 1,500-metre and one-mile races. The CAS asked the IAAF to delay the rules in those events until it provides more evidence.

WATCH | Caster Semenya faces tough decisions:

After falling short in her appeal of the new IAAF testosterone rules, two-time Olympic champion in the 800 metres will have to lower her testosterone levels if she wants to defend her world title. 3:42

Asked a day later at a news conference in Doha, Qatar, if the IAAF would heed that advice from sport's highest court, Coe gave a one-word answer: "No."

Despite saying the IAAF would blatantly ignore the CAS' advice on the 1,500 rules, Coe said he was "really grateful" to the court for its overall decision.

Having answered two questions from reporters on the CAS decision, Coe refused to speak any more on the issue.

Coe's response to the 1,500-meter question fuels Semenya's argument that the IAAF is deliberately sidelining the 28-year-old South African star because of her success. The two-time Olympic and three-time world champion in the 800 recently put more focus on the 1,500 as an alternative. She won a bronze medal in the 1,500 at the 2017 world championships.

Semenya gave her strongest criticism yet of the IAAF when she said in a statement in the wake of the CAS decision: "I know that the IAAF's regulations have always targeted me specifically. For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger."

Semenya now has the option of submitting to the IAAF rules and medically reducing her testosterone to be able to compete in the 800 or 1,500 at major meets. Or she could run longer distances and not have to medicate. She hasn't indicated what she will do.

Semenya and another athlete who has publicly announced she has a testosterone condition, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, will both run in the 800 at the Diamond League meet in Doha on Friday.

It will be the last top-class women's 800 before the testosterone regulations come into effect next week.

Broadcast Partners

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.