By Tom Degun at SportAccord in London

C_SemenyaApril 5 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved new eligibility guidelines for female athletes with elevated levels of male hormones in order to avoid a repeat of the Caster Semenya fiasco at the London 2012 Olympics.

Hyperandrogenism - a rare condition involving overproduction of male sex hormones - came to prominence after Semenya claimed an emphatic victory in the women's 800 metres final at the Berlin 2009 World Championships.

The South African subsequently faced questions over the legitimacy of her gold medal because of doubts over her gender.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) demanded she undergo gender verification tests to prove her sex and the 20-year-old athlete was forced to stay out of competition for 11 months before finally being allowed back on the track at the end of last year.

The new measures include a confidential gender assessment by a panel of international experts, but Professor Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the IOC Medical Commission, insisted that the guidelines had nothing to do with Semenya specifically and that they have been created to protect the integrity and fairness of female sport.

"Many believe this issue has come up as a result of a certain spectacular case that arose two years ago but it is not," insisted Ljundqvist here at SportAccord.

"The matter of making sure female competitions retain their integrity and fairness has been discussed for quite some time.

"In sports these cases are very rare and they have to be judged on a case by case basis.

"In my experience, there have been only a handful in the last ten years.

"However, they are there and they have to be dealt with in fairness for the athletes and for sport."

It would seem that there is little doubt that Semenya's case was the catalyst for the action and ironically the IAAF will be the first sports federation to introduce new gender rules based on the IOC principles when its Council meets in Daegu, South Korea, this weekend.

The IOC hopes other federations will follow suit.

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January 2011: Semenya unfazed by gender hullabaloo
November 2010: IAAF to issue guidelines on gender to avoid repeat of Semenya debacle
September 2010: South African Parliament calls Caster Semenya "mister" in official report
August 2010: South African officials to face charges over Semenya scandal
July 2010: Semenya cleared to run again after a year's investigation into gender