The World Medical Association (WMA) has called on doctors not to implement the International Association of Athletics Federation’s (IAAF) new rules regarding female athletes, following the dismissal of middle distance runner and Olympic medalist Caster Semenya’s appeal to regulations that will force some female athletes to lower their testosterone levels through medication.
The association has released a statement aiming to “reiterate its advice to physicians around the world to take no part in implementing new eligibility regulations for classifying female athletes”.
“We have strong reservations about the ethical validity of these regulations. They are based on weak evidence from a single study, which is currently being widely debated by the scientific community,” said WMA president Dr Leonid Eidelman in the statement.
“They are also contrary to a number of key WMA ethical statements and declarations, and as such we are calling for their immediate withdrawal,” he continued.
The WMA has called for the immediate withdrawal of the Differences of Sexual Development (DSD) rule.
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This follows similar sentiments expressed on Jacaranda FM by Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa, the vice-chairperson of the WMA’s local equivalent, the South African Medical Association (Sama).
According to Mzukwa, IAAF’s regulations contradict the laws of science.
“And,” he added, “we don’t know what the side effects will be to Caster Semenya if she were to take this therapy. Besides getting treatment the whole system is flawed, even scientist don’t agree on it, so I don’t understand how a court of law could make a decision on something that is so controversial.”
“There’s nothing with the patient if I were to take Caster as a patient. Why would you grab somebody on the street and give treatment to somebody in the street who has not consulted with you and told you that they are suffering from a pathological condition?
“Which we believe constitutes a systematic affront to the dignity of all female athletes. This ruling is both shocking and disconcerting. This certainly cannot be the way forward for sport.”
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)