Tuks Law Faculty Professor Steve Cornelius is resigning as a member of the IAAF Disciplinary Tribunal in protest against the controversial new rule believed to target gold medal-winning South African track athlete Caster Semenya.
In a hard-hitting letter to the president of the IAAF Seb Coe, Cornelius explained the reasons for his decision.
‘On deep moral grounds, I cannot see myself part of a system in which I may be called upon to apply regulations which I deem to be fundamentally flawed and most likely unlawful in various jurisdictions around the globe.
‘It would also be unethical for me for me to devote time and energy to expose the warped ideology behind the new regulations while serving on the Disciplinary Tribunal.
‘It was at first an honour to be appointed to the IAAF Tribunal, but sadly I cannot, with good conscience, continue to associate myself with an organisation which insists on ostracising specific individuals, all of them female, for no reason other than being what they are born to be.
‘The adoption of the new eligibility regulations for female classification is based on the same kind of ideology that has led to some of the worse injustices and atrocities in the history of our planet.
‘The new regulation is a sad reflection on the fact that antiquated views of the “old” scandal-hit IAAF still prevail and that the promises of reform have been empty indeed.’
It is not the first time that Cornelius has objected to the IAAF’s view on Hyperandrogenism. In a paper he wrote in 2016, he pointed out that the IAAF is trying to protect women from having to compete against women with the supposed hormonal advantages of men while there is no similar policy to protect men competing against other men with elevated levels of testosterone.
According to Cornelius, it implies that female athletes are weak and require protection against other women who are deemed to be too masculine.
‘Men, on the other hand, are presumably strong and do not require protection. The IAAF embarked on a slippery slope of bigotry, sexism and racism. They are seeking to defend the indefensible.
‘Whether a female athlete may or may not have an unfair competitive advantage over other female athletes merely because she has elevated natural levels of testosterone is just as relevant as whether a male athlete with elevated levels of testosterone has an unfair competitive advantage over other male athletes.
‘It is just as relevant as whether a high jumper, who is over two metres tall, has an unfair competitive advantage over an average athlete and it is just as relevant as whether a discus thrower with acromegaly has an unfair competitive advantage over an average athlete.’
Photo: Semenya and devoted fans, by Reg Caldecott