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Sport Abandoned and betrayed - how Athletics fails in its duty of care

10:30  30 september  2019
10:30  30 september  2019 Source:   news.sky.com

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When people fail to meet this legal duty , they may be liable for any resulting injuries to others. The law also imposes a higher duty of care on some professionals, including doctors and lawyers. The coffee shop failed to fulfill its duty to act as a reasonable business so as to avoid causing injuries to

a close up of Caster Semenya wearing a red shirt: Caster Semenya wants to compete without medical intervention © Other Caster Semenya wants to compete without medical intervention

You may have assumed the most damaging event in athletics this week was the men's 100m at the World Championships.

It was won by Christian Coleman, an American who narrowly avoided a ban after missing three drugs tests.

Second was Justin Gatlin, who himself has served two drugs bans, in a final that unfolded before a crowd which would embarrass the County Championships.

The Khalifa stadium also has to be air conditioned because this World Championships is being held in the desert, in conditions so punishing that many of the competitors in the women's marathon the previous day were forced to concede, stretchered from the course or wheeled into the medical tent.

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"In ATODA’s view, the ACT Government is seriously failing in its duty of care to the AMC’s prisoners, their families, the AMC staff, and the broader community, by failing to provide an NSP in the prison, a service that is available to the rest of the ACT’s community." Hepatitis ACT interim executive officer

Thus the betrayer must be willing to give the betrayed a sense of control, while the betrayed person must try to find that control. Your guilt and shame may make you uncomfortable listening to how badly you’ve made your partner feel. This is because empathy is an expression of care and concern.

a group of people looking at a laptop: An athlete is helped to cool down after competing in extreme heat at the World Athletics Championships in Doha © Other An athlete is helped to cool down after competing in extreme heat at the World Athletics Championships in Doha

As bad as it gets for athletics, you might think? But, no.

Because as dispiriting as it was for the athletes who were there, what of the ones that weren't?

Away from Doha on Friday evening, one of the most awful episodes in the sport's history was being broadcast to many parts of Europe.

A documentary by German channel ARD revealed for the first time the excruciating price some female athletes claim they were forced to pay, simply because of the way they were born.

The story of Caster Semenya has been well told.

The South African runner - an Olympic champion - was born with differences in sexual development (DSD) and refuses to submit to IAAF rules to take medication to artificially suppress her high levels of testosterone.

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a person wearing a black shirt: Annet Negesa said she was 'left in the dark' about surgery © Other Annet Negesa said she was 'left in the dark' about surgery

She is currently appealing to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to win the right to compete in middle distances without any medical intervention.

But two other athletes who also have DSD now allege they were coerced by the IAAF into having testosterone reducing surgery.

The IAAF stringently denies this suggestion but one thing seems certain - the handling of one of the thorniest issues the sport has ever had to confront has left much to be desired.

Annet Negesa, a Ugandan former 800m champion, says Stephane Bermon, now the chief medical officer of the IAAF, left her "in the the dark about the far-reaching consequences" of having her internal testes removed.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce et al. on a court: Athletes competed to a mostly empty stadium at the World Athletics Championships © Other Athletes competed to a mostly empty stadium at the World Athletics Championships

Negesa says her naturally high testosterone levels were discovered before the London 2012 Olympics.

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In order to continue competing, she claims she agreed to undergo a consultation before having a gonadectomy - the removal of internal testes, which had been causing the increased testosterone production in her body.

"They told me it was kind of an injection, they were pulling out my testosterone," Negesa said.

"But that's not what they did. When I woke up in the morning, I had wounds."

The IAAF says Bermon was not present at the alleged consultation and denied offering any recommendation regarding surgery.

A spokesperson said: "The IAAF encourages relevant athletes to seek independent, medical advice and will, if requested, provide athletes with information on independent experts and reference centre specialists.

"The IAAF has never recommended surgery to any athletes affected by its regulations, nor paid for any of their treatment.

"It has in some cases paid for the investigation of the case.

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A legal Duty Of Care Arises In Situations Where A Person Has Been Injured By The Negligent Or Wrongful Product manufacturers and drug companies owe a duty of care to consumers that includes a duty to exercise reasonable care in its design so it How Does A Court Determine Duty Of Care .

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"Dr Bermon was not present when the athlete interviewed underwent surgery in Uganda and did not recommend that course of action to her."

Another elite athlete, who remained anonymous out of fears for her safety, claims she contemplated suicide after being left, she says, with no option other than surgery.

"They stole my life, my existence," she said.

"Just like that, they took away my dream. I wish that I had died in her hands at that time, because she would then have been held accountable and punished."

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) © AP (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The claims have uncomfortable parallels with the way Semenya herself was treated.

At just 18, Semenya won her first world title in Berlin in 2009.

Afterwards she was subjected to cruel taunts and even called a man by a rival, isolated further when information from the IAAF that she would have to submit to gender testing was leaked.

Pierre Weiss, at the time the general secretary of the IAAF, said: "She is a woman, but maybe not 100%."

What these women were advised and how they were treated by the sport's governing body remains a subject of some mystery.

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) © AP (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

But the women in the ARD documentary have suffered enormously and clearly feel they were abandoned, even betrayed.

Somewhere along the line, the sport's duty of care for them failed.

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The decision: The duty of care established by the Supreme Court of Canada in Jordan House v. Menow has The decision: The court held that there was no link between any breach by the licensee of its duty of In failing to take such action, the staff breached their obligations under the Act, which

Failure to make full disclosure to the principal is a breach of the agent's fiduciary duty and the agent The agent has also to show how the terms of the relevant transaction compare to similar transactions in the market. Common law requires an agent to act with due care and skill in performing his duties .

Like the decision to take the sport's showpiece to a country which has little interest in athletics and a climate wholly unsuited to elite competition, the treatment these women allege happened under a previous regime of the IAAF, although some individuals remain.

The conundrum of athletes with DSD competing at the top level is a fiendishly difficult one to solve, with their human rights and moral issues needing to be balanced against the requirement for fair competition.

The IAAF has handled the latest legal challenge involving Semenya mostly sensitively, while aggressively defending women's categories in the sport.

But adding the allegations of these women to the optics of Dina Asher-Smith, Britain's first world sprint medallist for 36 years, completing a lap of honour in front of less than 500 people and it has been a weekend to forget for the IAAF.

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