Levelling the playing field in Female Sport: New research published in the British Journal Of Sports Medicine

Monaco, July 4, 2017: New research has been published today in support of the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) currently suspended Hyperandrogenism Regulations (British Journal Sports Medicine).

On 27 July 2015 in a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) case between the Indian athlete Dutee Chand and the Athletics Federation of India and the IAAF, the CAS made an interim decision to suspend the IAAF’s Hyperandrogenism Regulations for a period of two years, in order to provide the IAAF with an opportunity to submit further evidence as to the degree of performance advantage that hyperandrogenic female athletes have over athletes with normal testosterone levels.

The article published today, “Serum androgen levels and their relation to performance in track and field: mass spectrometry results from 2127 observations in male and female elite athletes”, is part of the evidence that the IAAF is preparing for its return to CAS.

The authors, Drs Stéphane Bermon and Pierre-Yves Garnier, submitted the study for scientific peer review, and the article and related research has now been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Dr Bermon, who has been a member of the IAAF and IOC working groups on hyperandrogenic female athletes and transgender athletes, jointly headed the study with Dr Pierre-Yves Garnier, Director of the IAAF Health and Science Department.

Funded by the IAAF and the World Anti-Doping Agency, the study describes and characterises serum androgen levels and studies their possible influence on athletic performance in both male and female elite athletes.

The study analysed 2127 mass spectrometry-measured serum androgen concentrations obtained from elite athletes participating in the 2011 and 2013 IAAF World Championships.

Among other things, the study found that in certain events female athletes with high testosterone levels benefit from a 1.8% to 4.5% competitive advantage over female athletes with lower testosterone levels.

Dr Bermon commented: “Our starting position is to defend, protect and promote fair female competition.

If, as the study shows, in certain events female athletes with higher testosterone levels can have a competitive advantage of between 1.8-4.5% over female athletes with lower testosterone levels, imagine the magnitude of the advantage for female athletes with testosterone levels in the normal male range.

This study is one part of the evidence the IAAF will be submitting to CAS regarding the degree of performance advantage that hyperandrogenic female athletes enjoy over female athletes with normal testosterone levels. We continue to gather more data and research on our journey to providing a fair and level playing field for females in our sport.”

While the IAAF will continue to gather evidence and prepare its case, it should be noted that this process will have no impact on the IAAF World Championships in London this August, as the Hyperandrogenism Regulations remain suspended pending the resolution of the CAS proceedings.

Other recently published articles relating to this topic can be found here: a) Bermon current opinionand b) Eklund Serum Androgen Profile.

No further comment will be made until after the conclusion of the CAS proceedings. —- IAAF

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