By Duncan Mackay

Caster Semenya crossing the line and pointing(1)April 12 - The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) today reacted to the Caster Semenya affair by becoming the first international sports federation to approve the adoption of new rules and regulations governing the eligibility of females with hyperandrogenism to compete in women's competition.

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 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 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 IAAF Council's decision at its meeting in Daegu today is the culmination of an 18 month-long review by an IAAF expert working group who have studied issues relating to the participation of female athletes with hyperandrogenism in athletics and worked closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical Commission, who last week unveiled new eligibility guidelines.

The guidlines, which will officially come into force on May 1, include the fact that female with hyperandrogenism who is recognised as a female in law shall be eligible to compete in women's competition in athletics provided that she has androgen levels below the male range - measured by reference to testosterone levels in serum - or, if she has androgen levels within the male range she also has an androgen resistance which means that she derives no competitive advantage from such levels.

A pool of international medical experts has been appointed by the IAAF to review cases referred to it under the regulations as an independent expert medical panel and to make recommendations in cases to decide on the eligibility of female athletes with hyperandrogenism and there will be a three-level medical process to ensure that all the relevant data is made available.

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