Women runners born with high testosterone levels enjoy a "significant competitive advantage", said a study Tuesday that could reignite debate on the future participation of athletes whose gender was questioned.
The study, jointly sponsored by the sporting agency seeking to ban athletes with hyperandrogenism, comes three weeks before the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) must present expert evidence on "the actual degree" of advantage women could gain.
Hyperandrogenism is a condition that causes high natural levels of the male hormone, testosterone, in women.
Without proof, IAAF regulations excluding women with hyperandrogenism from competition are set to lapse. Track stars such as South Africa's Caster Semenya and India's Dutee Chand both endured banishment for failing so-called "gender tests"
The new study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, was funded by the IAAF and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
One of the authors, Stephane Bermon, is an IAAF consultant and a member of its working group on hyperandrogenic athletes.
The other, Pierre-Yves Garnier, is director of the IAAF's health and science department. He returned to work in January after a three-month suspension in a probe linked to Russian athletics doping.