Dubai: The UAE’s Ahmad Al Kamali, a former World Athletics Council (WAC) member, has firmly backed the World Medical Association’s (WMA) opposition to IAAF benchmark for classifying female athletes as being ‘contrary to medical ethics’.
“I have been a WAC Council member over two terms and all I know is that there is right and there is wrong in any sphere of life. The same rule can be applied to the world of athletics,” Al Kamali told Gulf News during a chat.
“All people are created differently and as administrators of a sport, we need to be fair to one and all. That, in fact, should be our yardstick irrelevant of the race, colour or creed of a person,” he added.
Late on Monday, the WMA officially reaffirmed its opposition to the IAAF gender rules for classifying female athletes as being ‘contrary to medical ethics’. In a letter, the WMA firmly argued that “we stand firm against any practice requiring physicians to use their competence and skills for any other purpose than providing medical care in the best interest of their patients and in respect of their dignity”.
People do not choose their testosterone levels. They are born with it along with the other qualities from the creator. It is something that is natural. So to label anyone would be unfair
The tipping point was when last week, the governing body of the sport had ruled that Olympics gold medallist Caster Semenya “must take drugs to suppress her testosterone levels to compete in certain women’s races or she can compete with men in any competition at any level and without restriction”.
Strongly criticising their stance, Al Kamali said: “People do not choose their testosterone levels. They are born with it along with the other qualities from the creator. It is something that is natural. So to label anyone would be unfair,” Al Kamali noted.
“In my opinion, all member athletic associations from around the world must back this letter from the WMA so that there is fairness in the system, at least well into the 21st century,” he added.
Current IAAF rules stipulate that women athletes with specific differences in sex development should medically reduce their natural blood testosterone.
The WMA letter from President Dr Leonid Eidelman and WMA Chair Dr Frank Ulrich Montgomery has argued that its opposition to the regulations is based solely on strict ethical considerations.
“A medical treatment (with a few legal exceptions, which do not apply here) is only justified when there is a medical need. The mere existence of an inter-sex condition without the person indicating suffering and expressing the desire for an adequate treatment, does not constitute a medical indication,” the WMA letter has said.
“The days when doctors or society would determine which gender a person should have are definitely over. It is the ethical duty of physicians to respect the dignity and integrity of people, regardless of whether they are female, male, intersex or transgender. Medical treatment for the sole purpose of altering the performance in sport is not permissible,” the letter has stated.
Al Kamali, who was the President of the UAE Athletics Federation (UAE AF), has been provisionally suspended by the Chair of the IAAF Disciplinary Tribunal for potential violations of the IAAF Candidacy Rules and the Integrity Code of Conduct.
The tribunal had decreed that Al Kamali - a candidate for the role of Vice-President during the October 2019 elections - had breached the Integrity Code of Conduct. He still serves as the President of the GCC Athletics Federation.