‘We accept their legal sex’: IAAF rejects claims about Semenya

The world athletics' governing body (IAAF) has rejected a report that it wants women's Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya to be classified as a biological male.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is due to hear Semenya's landmark case next week but the IAAF denied it was seeking to have any athlete with differences in sexual development (DSDs) classified as male, saying it "accepted their legal sex without question".

South Africa’s Caster Semenya.Credit:AP

However, the IAAF added that it wants athletes such as Semenya, who was born with testes, to reduce their testosterone levels before they compete internationally.

"The IAAF is not classifying any DSD [differences of sexual development] athlete as male," the IAAF said in a statement.

"To the contrary, we accept their legal sex without question and permit them to compete in the female category.

"However if a DSD athlete has testes and male levels of testosterone, they get the same increases in bone and muscle size and strength and increases in haemoglobin that a male gets when they go through puberty, which is what gives men such a performance advantage over women.

"Therefore, to preserve fair competition in the female category, it is necessary to require DSD athletes to reduce their testosterone down to female levels before they compete at international level."

The IAAF has delayed the introduction of a testosterone limit for female athletes until after Semenya's appeal against the rule is heard.

The new limit, which only applies to races from 400m to 1600m, was meant to come into force on November 1 and would require athletes to maintain their testosterone levels to below five nanomoles per litre (nmol/L) for at least six months before competing.

For affected athletes, this would mean taking hormone suppression tablets, similar to oral contraceptives.

With the vast majority of women having less than 1.79 nmol/L in their bloodstreams, the limit is intended to address the competitive advantage women with naturally high levels of the hormone are believed to possess.

Having previously relied on relatively crude measures, ranging from nude parades decades ago to chromosome testing in the 1980s, the IAAF has settled on a testosterone limit ever since Semenya burst on to the scene at the 2009 world championships in Berlin.

Her victory there – her first of three world and two Olympic 800m titles – was marred by a shameful public debate about the then 18-year-old's gender.

That episode resulted in IAAF's first attempt to set a limit for testosterone and its hyperandrogenism rule was in place until Indian sprinter Dutee Chand took it to CAS in 2015.

The Swiss-based court ruled there was a lack of evidence to support the rule and suspended it for two years, pending further research.


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Woman, 36, takes legal action against an NHS trust after hysterectomy

Woman, 36, takes legal action against an NHS trust after she had a hysterectomy because bungling doctors misdiagnosed her cancer for 14 months, despite a ‘positive’ smear test

  • Hayley Wareing, 36, from Birmingham, was incorrectly diagnosed by doctors    
  • University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust admitted the results were interpreted incorrectly 
  • Ms Wareing was correctly diagnosed after she was sent to a private consultant 

Hayley Wareing, 36, from Birmingham, was initially told by the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust that her smear test results were negative

A woman is taking legal action against an NHS trust after she had a hysterectomy because doctors misdiagnosed her cancer for 14 months.

Hayley Wareing, 36, from Birmingham, had a smear test in 2015 and despite showing tell tale signs of having cervical cancer, she was never diagnosed.

She was finally correctly diagnosed when she went to a private consultant for a second opinion more than year after her original test.

Eight days later she underwent a full hysterectomy which meant she was left unable to have children.

After her surgery she also went through 200 hours of gruelling chemotherapy and five weeks of radiotherapy to stop the cancer spreading.

She said: ‘I feel like a totally different person since my diagnosis and it has been incredibly difficult trying to come to terms with how my life has been turned upside down.

‘Simple things that many people take for granted are now a real struggle. Even walking can be painful.

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‘I used to enjoy exercise and would go to the gym around six times a week but even moderate exercise now can leave me in agony for days after.

‘One of the worst things has been trying to come to terms with the fact that I cannot have any children.

‘I was always dreamed of having two children.

However in May 2016 she visited A&E at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham after she suffered heavy bleeding for more than a week

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham is part of the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust

‘It is difficult not to feel angry at what happened but I want to try and focus on the future.

‘I just hope that the Hospital Trust realises the impact its error has had on my life and learns lessons to improve patient care.

‘By speaking out I hope other women realise how important it is that they recognise the signs of cervical cancer and seek medical advice at the earliest opportunity.’

Ms Wareing had a smear test in October 2015 at her GP surgery.

The test was sent to University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust for analysis, and the results coming back as ‘negative’.

Ms Wareing was invited for a routine follow up test in a further three years.

But in May 2016 she visited A&E at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham after she suffered heavy bleeding for more than a week.

In November 2016, Ms Wareing once again visited her GP complaining of bleeding after going to the gym.

Her GP referred her to a private consultant who raised suspicions and sent her for tests including a biopsy.

She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in December 2016 and had a hysterectomy eight days later.

Ms Wareing had previously travelled the world with her job as a service delivery manager but was forced to quit after her diagnosis.

She now works for a bank but continues to suffer back, pelvis and hip pain, as well as fatigue and chronic swelling in her thighs caused by a build-up of fluid from her radiotherapy.

The 36-year-old is now in remission and has instructed medical negligence lawyers Irwin Mitchell to investigate her case.

Her lawyer Emma Rush said: ‘The last couple of years have been extremely upsetting for Hayley as continues to try to come to terms with her diagnosis and the effects of her treatment, sadly including that she will not be able to have children.

‘We believe that if Hayley’s tests results had been recorded correctly she would have received urgent appropriate treatment, which would have avoided her hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

‘We now call on the Trust to ensure it learns lessons from this case so other women do not have to go through the anger and upset Hayley has had to endure following her diagnosis.

‘Cervical cancer is a treatable disease with a good long term prognosis when it is diagnosed early.

‘It is important women continue to attend regular smear appointments and be aware of the symptoms, and if needed, seek medical advice at the earliest possible opportunity.

University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which was responsible for analysing the original smear test results, admitted that Hayley’s smear test was interpreted incorrectly.

A hospital spokesperson said: ‘The admission has been made by the trust that on this occasion Ms Wareing did not receive the care she could have reasonably expected.

‘We are working with Ms Wareing’s representatives to achieve an appropriate resolution of the litigation.

‘The trust always strives to deliver the safest and most appropriate care to all of our patients and cascades the learnings from cases such as this one.’ 

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Mother wins legal battle to stop father being told he has a child

Teenage mother who became pregnant when she was 13-year-old wins legal battle to stop violent drug addict father being told he has a child

  • A 14-year-old schoolgirl did not know she was pregnant until her waters broke
  • She feared what would happen if the father, who is 15, found out about the baby 
  • High Court judge Mr Justice Cohen agreed to her highly unusual request

A teenage mother who became pregnant aged just 13 has won an extraordinary court battle to stop the violent and drug-addicted father being told about the baby.

The schoolgirl, now 14, did not know she was pregnant until her waters broke and has since kept her baby girl a secret from all but her closest family. 

She feared what would happen if the father, who is 15, found out about the baby, who she now wants adopted, because of his history of violence.

The two teenagers had sex only on two occasions. Now a High Court judge has agreed to her highly unusual request that social workers do not tell the boy about his child.

A teenage mother who became pregnant at the age of 13 has won a court battle to stop the violent and drug-addicted father, who is 15, being told about the baby. (Stock image)

Mr Justice Cohen said: ‘I have reached the clear view that the combination of factors in this case does not make it appropriate for the father to be informed of the birth.’

The court, sitting in Newcastle, heard that the teenagers, who were at the same school, had an ‘extremely short-lived’ relationship. 

The girl was only 13 when she got pregnant and the father was a year older.

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She claims ‘she was unaware that she was pregnant until her waters broke’ – when she rang her family ‘in great distress’ – and that none of her friends or teachers had suspected a thing. 

Her baby was placed with foster carers as soon as she was discharged from hospital and is to be adopted, as the girl ‘immediately concluded that she could not care for [her]’.

Now a High Court judge has agreed to her highly unusual request that social workers do not tell the boy about his child. (Stock image)

The teenage girl was said by psychologists to be intelligent and wants to continue at school then go to university. 

She has a history of self-harm and depression, and was said to be ‘on edge’ and ‘constantly fearful of noises outside’ because she fears the father will ‘physically harm her’ if he finds out about the baby.

The father, who is said to be a drug addict and alcoholic who carries a knife, has been convicted of criminal damage, been permanently expelled from school and may have been violent to his own mother. 

He lives with his father, who also has drug problems and is known to be violent.

An independent expert consulted by the court said she ‘has not had a case like this in 18 years of experience’.

Mr Justice Cohen said that he had to consider the interests of the baby above all, and concluded that there was no hope of the boy or his family looking after her. 

He also pointed out the ‘very young age of the mother’, the effect on her life if the news gets out of her baby and the fact she is ‘psychologically vulnerable’. 

The judge said: ‘I have not taken the mother’s objections to the father being told at face value without analysis and it is significant that the views of the harm that the mother might suffer are supported by [a doctor], by her school pastoral tutor and the counsellor with whom she works, and that her complaints about the father and his family have been supported by local authority social service files relating to the paternal family.

‘In all the circumstances, I therefore order and direct that the local authority is not obliged to tell the father of the birth and should not do so.’


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Widow in legal battle with stepson after he ‘threw her out of home’

Wealthy property investor’s widow, 57, is locked in bitter legal battle with stepson she helped raise after he ‘threw her out of their £450,000 home “like a dog”‘

  • Diane De Marzo, 57, says she lent £150k to Sonny Ball to help him find a home
  • Says it was for him and his girlfriend, now wife, Leahann, 33, after his father died 
  • The plan was she would share family property with them, Mrs De Marzo claims
  • But she says she was ‘thrown out’ of the house by Sonny and is now demanding that he give her the money back – but he claims the money was his inheritance

Diane De Marzo, 57, (pictured outside court) says she lent £150,000 to Sonny Ball, 33, to help him find a home for him and his girlfriend after his father died

A wealthy property investor’s widow who claims she was thrown out of her home ‘like a dog’ by her stepson has taken him to court.

Diane De Marzo, 57, says she lent £150,000 to Sonny Ball, 33, to help him find a home for him and his girlfriend and now wife, Leahann, 33, after his father died.

Mrs De Marzo claims the plan was she would share the property with them – but she says Sonny then threw her out of the house in Abbey Wood, Kent.

Demanding they sell the house and give her the money back, she now claims she was ‘scammed’ by Sonny, who she had always considered her ‘boy’.

‘He said I was like his ‘mum’ and he threw me out like a dog,’ Mrs De Marzo told Central London County Court.

‘In my eyes, he was ‘my boy’. His dad always believed he would do right by his family.’

But Sonny and his now wife say nothing could be further from the truth, that the money was a gift and represented his inheritance from his dad, Michael Ball.

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Mrs De Marzo has no right to any part of the three-bed £450,000 property as it is theirs alone, said the couple’s barrister Lina Mattsson.

She had been allowed to stay with them when she was in need, but was ‘obsessed’ with his father Michael Ball’s death to the point she was asked to leave.

But Sonny and his now wife Leahann (both pictured outside court) say that the money was a gift and represented his inheritance from his dad, Michael Ball

‘They were finding it more and more difficult to live with Mrs De Marzo,’ said the barrister.

‘She was obsessed with how Michael Ball had died, claiming it was murder or suicide. She talked about the circumstances of his death all the time.

‘Sonny was finding it very difficult to cope with the tension at home. He tried to avoid her, staying away.

‘The situation was becoming unbearable and, on 23 May 2015, they asked Mrs De Marzo to leave the property.’

Ms Mattsson said that it was only after that row that Mrs De Marzo started claiming Sonny had ‘stolen her money’ and that she had a claim to the house.

‘She turned Sonny’s younger sisters against him, telling them that he had stolen their money,’ she continued

The house which is at the centre of a dispute between the Balls and Mrs De Marzo

‘She emailed Sonny and Leahann, attaching an accident report with horrible photographs of Sonny’s dead father.’

But in her evidence, Mrs De Marzo – who has known Sonny since he was five years old – insisted that the money was not a gift.

Had she given £150,000 to Sonny, it would have meant less ultimately going to her husband’s four other children, three of whom he had with her.

‘I need to look after all the children,’ she told Judge Simon Monty QC. ‘Sonny can’t just have £150,000 all to himself.’

She said when the property was bought, she had insisted that Sonny and Leahann draw up wills to ensure the £150,000 went back to her if they died first.

Her barrister, Piers Hill, said the arrangement had always been that Mrs De Marzo would live in the property with the couple.

She paid the broadband bill for a year and funded an extension to the driveway so her car could fit, he said.

But Leahann Ball insisted that the £150,000 was Sonny’s inheritance and that her step-mother-in-law has no right to the house.

‘If she had wanted the property to be jointly owned, then that’s what it would have been,’ she said. ‘We would have gone to buy a house three ways.

‘She wanted to see Sonny settled, it was what his dad wanted. By giving him the £150,000, she didn’t have to worry about him anymore.’

The court heard Mrs De Marzo and Michael Ball moved to Spain in 2006, where Mr Ball owned a string of properties.

Sonny initially went with them but returned to England in 2007 and now lives with Leahann in the disputed property in Abbey Wood.

His father, who died in a road accident in 2013, owned a large family villa, a rental house and two beachside apartments in southern Spain, plus a flat in Kent.

Judge Monty will rule on the case at a later date.

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Secret legal advice on Brexit will be published within hours but ministers warns rebel MPs they'll 'live to regret it'

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom confirmed the advice they tried to keep secret would indeed be published this morning after a humiliating defeat last night.

MPs voted to defy the Government and release the full documents – rather than just a summary.

It was just one of three votes Theresa May's administration lost last night, and marks the first ever time ministers in a British Parliament has been found in contempt.

But Ms Leadsom said this morning: "I think any parliamentarian who wants at some point in the future to be in Government is going to live to regret their vote last night."

She said it undermined "decades if not centuries of convention" where ministers were able to receive advice in secret.

And she would only back Mrs May as PM "at the moment".

The Prime Minister will face PMQs in the Commons later today, followed by the continuation of the debate on her Brexit deal.

MPs will have their crunch vote on it next week – where the PM is all but certain to lose.

The news comes as:

  • The Sun revealed the Chancellor had set aside £2billion more in funding for a No Deal Brexit
  • The head-to-head between Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May on the BBC was scrapped after failing to agree on how to do it
  • MPs warned she has only once chance to save her Brexit deal – buy fixing the hated Northern Irish backstop
Getty Images – Getty2
Theresa May suffered three humiliating defeats over Brexit last night

Ms Leadsom said today that if the PM's deal was thrown out in the vote next week, Britain would leave without a deal.

Other MPs are determined to stop that happening, saying there's no majority for that to pass in the Commons.

"Unless government were to do something completely different to change tack, or indeed to pass this deal, then we will be leaving the EU on 29 March next year without a deal, so it defaults to no deal," Ms Leadsom said this morning.

Last night MPs won the power to block No Deal and call a second referendum if the PM lost the vote.

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