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‘Semenya is a biological man’: Spanish athletics official backs IAAF testosterone restriction rule

‘Semenya is a biological man’: Spanish athletics official backs IAAF testosterone restriction rule
The former president of the Spanish athletics federation, José María Odriozola, has backed the newly-implemented testosterone restrictions imposed on female athletes, insisting that Caster Semenya is a “biological man.”

Odriozola, who is also a professor of biochemistry and a member of the IAAF Board of Directors, said athletes with a high testosterone level have a huge advantage over the rest of their competitors whose biological level of testosterone is significantly lower.

READ MORE: ‘I have never really felt supported’: Caster Semenya bemoans lack of support from female athletes

In an interview with Spanish Sport magazine Odriozola stressed that the two time Olympic champion from South Africa, Semenya, “biologically is a man” given her extreme high testosterone level which she is now obliged to reduce under the new athletics regulations.

She says the IAAF goes against her, but the rules are for everyone,” he said. “Her case comes from the World Championships in Berlin 2009. She has XY chromosomes, like men, and then a series of hormonal internal controls that make her hyperandrogenic.” 


Semenya has more testosterone than most men and that gives her an undoubted advantage,” Odriozola added emphasizing that the IAAF’s rule was aimed at ensuring fair competition.

Under the new IAAF regulations, female runners with exceeded testosterone are obliged to medically reduce it to be eligible to compete internationally. Semenya, who specializes in middle distances, tried to overturn the decision which she found discriminatory, but lost her appeal both in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.

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The runner will not be allowed to compete at the upcoming world championships as she refuses to medically lower her testosterone level.