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Gender issues in sport

With Rio 2016 fast approaching, here’s a link to a thought-provoking and well-balanced article by Donald McRae on Caster Semenya, the South African athlete who is expected to do great things on the Olympics athletics track, that appears today on the website of – THE GUARDIAN

It covers the vexed issues of gender, transsexuals, intersexuals and … er … women who naturally produce greater levels of testosterone than most. As McRae points out, producing higher levels of testosterone than the norm gives an individual a pronounced advantage.

But should that disqualify such people from competing? Is it fair to other female competitors, i.e. who don’t or cannot produce similar amounts of testosterone naturally?

The issues and implications are limitless.

In male (and female) sprinting, for example, it is acknowledged that fast-twitch muscles count for much. Certain body types, indeed potentially certain racial types, tend to develop more fast-twitch muscles than others.

Has the time come to have different events for those who have more than a set (randomly-chosen?) proportion of fast-twitch muscles  … and those who do not? After all, if you are born with a racial or body type that develops fewer fast-twitch muscles than others, isn’t it unfair to expect you to run against people who are lucky enough to have been born with a natural propensity to develop more fast-twitch muscles than you?

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About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts