The governing athletics body IAAF will be the first sports federation to implement new gender regulations concerning women with hyperandrogenism, from May 1 onwards.

The IAAF council approved the rules on Tuesday at meetings in Daegu, South Korea, an IAAF statement said.

Hyperandrogenism is a condition in which women have an overproduction of male sex hormones. In sport, it could give them a competition advantage.

“Competition in athletics will continue to be divided into men’s and women’s competition recognising that there is a difference in sporting performance between elite men and women, that is predominantly due to higher levels of androgenic hormones in men,” the statement said.

“A female with hyperandrogenism who is recognised as a female in law shall be eligible to compete in women9s 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.” The IAAF is the first federation to adopt plans set up by the International Olympic Committee executive board last week for the 2012 Games in London. The IOC had asked sports federations to follow these guidelines.

Gender verification made headlines at the 2009 athletics world championships when South African Caster Semenya won the 800m and was revealed to have been ordered to undergo sex tests because of her muscular appearance and fast-improving results.

Semenya was finally cleared to run again in 2010. The IAAF never published the test results, which according to Australian news reports indicated that she had male and female sex organs.

The IAAF and IOC have been working closely together to set up the new rules on Hyperandrogenism. The IAAF said on Tuesday that affected athletes will undergo a confidential three-level medical process to determine their exact condition.

The IAAF said it will also on May 1 implement modified rules on athletes who have under a sex change from male to female.

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