International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe believes the Swiss Supreme Court was right in preventing South African athlete Caster Semenya from competing at the World Championships in Doha.
Semenya will not defend her 800 metres title in Doha after the Swiss Supreme Court reversed a ruling which suspended a regulation imposed by the IAAF regarding testosterone levels, pending an appeal from the South African.
The 28-year-old is appealing a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) supporting the IAAF regulation that athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD) who wish to compete in events ranging from 400m and a mile must take medication in order to reduce testosterone levels.
Coe has defended the IAAF’s regulation saying he has a “responsibility to protect” female athletes.
He contends that while there exists a possibility that gendering in sport may change in the future, he believes that a clear distinction between male and female classifications must be maintained in the present.
“The importance of trying to keep the sport together, particularly women’s sport, that’s important to me,” Coe told CNN World Sport.
“It may be in 30 years, 40 years time society takes a different view and we have other classifications, I don’t know.
“But at this point, my responsibility was to protect two classifications and that’s what we feel we’ve done.”
“I see this as the right decision and those regulations have been tabled for what I believe are the right reasons and, most importantly, the majority of my Council,” Coe said responding to a question about if he felt the matter had become personal between him and Semenya.
He, however, expressed hope that Semenya and other athletes affected by the ruling do what is required in order to return to competing in the sport.
“I hope that she does come back onto the track and I do hope that the athletes with that condition take the medical direction that allows them to do that,” he said.
Three-times world champion Semenya disputed the IAAF’s regulation requiring athletes of DSD to take medication to curb their testoterone levels and accused the global athletics body of using her as a “guinea pig”.
The Olympic gold medalist has also warned she will “not allow the IAAF to use me and my body again”.
The IAAF World Athletics Championships are due to take place from September 27 to October 6 at Khalifa International Stadium.
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