IAAF president reacts to ruling on new female classification rules ahead of Doha Diamond League, where Semenya will race 800m

IAAF president Seb Coe has welcomed the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision which will see the introduction of new rules on female classification in athletics.

On Wednesday, the CAS dismissed the challenges from both two-time Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya and Athletics South Africa (ASA) against the rules, which relate to restricting testosterone levels in female runners in certain events on the world stage.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Friday’s Doha Diamond League, where Semenya will race as a late entry to the 800m, Coe said: “I think this is pretty straightforward and it is very straightforward for any international federation in sport.

“Athletics has two classifications. It has age, it has gender.

“We are fiercely protective about both and I am really grateful that the court of arbitration has upheld that principle.”

His comments came on the same day that Semenya posted a couple of cryptic tweets, including one referencing “walking away” in a hint that she could be considering quitting the sport, or no longer fighting the ruling.

“Knowing when to walk away is wisdom,” reads the quote on a graphic posted by the three-time world gold medallist. “Being able to is courage. Walking away with your head held high is dignity.”

The “IAAF Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athletes with Differences of Sex Development)” (DSD Regulations) had been due to come into effect on November 1, 2018, but were suspended.

The regulations will now start on May 8, five days after Semenya races in Doha.

After that date, Semenya and other female athletes with DSD will need to reduce their natural testosterone level in order to take part in women’s track events from 400m to the mile in international competition.

“I know that the IAAF’s regulations have always targeted me specifically,” read a statement from Semenya, who won both 1500m and 5000m titles at the recent South African Championships.

“For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger. The decision of the CAS will not hold me back. I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world.”

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