Caster Semenya will return to the track yesterday no doubt aware that she will be subjected to scrutiny that goes way beyond her ability as an outstanding 800m runner with two Olympic and two world titles.
The debate as to whether the 26-year-old South African woman should be allowed to compete in a world championship event will continue against the backdrop of Lord Coe and the IAAF, an organisation whose principal role should be to protect its athletes, trying to implement a rule that forces her to have hormone replacement therapy if she wants to keep running as someone with Hyperandrogenism.
But a Stanford University professor has not only exposed serious flaws in the scientific study being used by the governing body in the case they are submitting to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, she has raised concerns about the potential health risks to athletes like Semenya should they make her take medication.
Katrina Karkazis is a Senior Research Scholar at Stanford University, and testified in the Dutee Chand case that persuaded the Court of Arbitration for Sport to suspend the IAAF’s testosterone rule for two years in 2015. ‘Lowering testosterone can have serious lifelong health effects,’ she explained to Sportsmail. ‘If done via surgery, women are at high risk for osteoporosis.’
Karkazis is writing a book on Testosterone and in an article she co-wrote with Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, a chronic disease epidemiologist in Australia, she challenged the validity of a study the IAAF commissioned to submit as evidence to CAS. “ The IAAF is heralding this study as major and important evidence. It isn’t,” write Karkazis and Meyerowitz-Katz.
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