Sydney - The World Medical Association (WMA) on Sunday urged doctors not to enforce
controversial new IAAF gender rules for classifying female athletes,
warning that attempts to do so would breach ethical codes.
READ: Caster: How medication will impact her performance
follows South African runner Caster Semenya last week losing her court
challenge against the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) over plans to force some women to regulate their testosterone levels.
decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) means that female
athletes with elevated testosterone will have to take suppressive
treatment if they wish to compete as women in certain events.
The IAAF argued that athletes like the two-time Olympic champion had an unfair advantage over others.
World Medical Association chairman Frank Ulrich Montgomery advised
doctors to play no part in enforcing the rules during an interview with
the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"We do think it is
extremely serious if international sports regulations demand physicians
to prescribe medication - hormonally active medication - for athletes
in order to reduce normal conditions in their body," he said.
2-1 decision, CAS judges dismissed Semenya's appeal against the
measures targeting "hyperandrogenic" athletes - or those with
"differences of sexual development" (DSD).
They said that although
the rules were "discriminatory ... such discrimination is a necessary,
reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF's aim of
preserving the integrity of female athletics in the Restricted Events".
said that for women with DSD "it is just normal to be androgenic and
there is nothing pathological about the situation of this athlete".
physician can be forced to administer these drugs, and we definitely
urge our colleagues to refrain from giving hormonally active medication
to athletes simply because some regulations demand it," he added.
"If physicians do apply these drugs they do break ethical codes.
basic ethical code of all medical practice is never do harm, and it is
doing harm to a perfectly normal body with just a rather high level of
testosterone by administering drugs to use this in order to make them
eligible for women's sport under these regulations."
The DSD rules
- first adopted last year but suspended pending the legal battle -
are due to come into effect on May 8. Semenya is mulling an appeal.
said the argument that Semenya had an unfair advantage over others
didn't make sense, using the height of some basketball players to make
"The next issue would be that we demand basketball
players who are taller than 2.25 metres should reduce their height
surgically to something else because, of course, they do have an
advantage over other basketball players that are somewhat smaller," he
"So where is the limit to this? And therefore we say
medicine shouldn't interfere with non-pathological situations simply to
enhance sports activities."