The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have issued new eligibility regulations that will oversee rules for female classification for events ranging from 400m to the mile, including 400m, hurdles races, 800m, 1500m, one mile races and combined events over the same distances.
The new Regulations require any athlete who has a Difference of Sexual Development (DSD) that means her levels of circulating testosterone are five nmol/L or above and who is androgen-sensitive to meet the following criteria to be eligible to compete in restricted events in an international competition or set a World Record in a restricted event at competition that is not an International Competition:
(a) she must be recognised at law either as female or as intersex (or equivalent);
(b) she must reduce her blood testosterone level to below five (5) nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months (e.g., by use of hormonal contraceptives); and
(c) thereafter she must maintain her blood testosterone level below five (5) nmol/L continuously (ie: whether she is in competition or out of competition) for so long as she wishes to remain eligible.
Double Olympic 800 metre champion Caster Semenya has been seen as one of the targets of the new regulations.
Sports scientist Ross Tucker joined Joe on tonight's show to clarify what the new regulations will mean for Semenya and other athletes and how likely they are to be enforced following potential legal challenges.
How will it affect Semenya performance-wise should the regulations come in? While it's not an exact science, Tucker estimates that her times could be affected negatively by a 5-7 second margin.
"There's no doubt that the lowering of testosterone affects anyone," Tucker explained, adding that "he wouldn't be surprised if [the effect on time] will be even more."
Given the scrutiny, Semenya has faced, Tucker also acknowledged how much "grace and poise" she has shown in dealing with the unwanted attention about her biology.