IN the post Second World War period, when international athletics competition was re-established, the Soviet Bloc presented a number of female athletes of unusual and surprising stature. The objective was to collect as many medals as possible for political considerations.

We all remember Tamara Press, the Soviet Union shot put/discus thrower. This caused considerable concern at the time and the issue still dogs women’s athletics today.

I take the opposing view to that put forward in Kevin Ferrie (Final Say, Herald Sport, August 10). I believe that qualification should be based not only on body form but body chemistry as well.

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Statistical analysis of female testosterone levels shows that the first three quartiles (75 per cent) fall within a fairly small range. The uppermost 25 per cent show a greater scatter with some individuals as high as double the mean and, as a result, extending into the male range.

For the purpose of competition, I would like to see a cut-off point made in the region where males and females overlap – say around the 400pg/ml level. Some will see this as an attack on individual rights but do we really want to see women’s athletics reduced to an old-fashioned circus side show?

Dr GW Cross,

17 Dykesfield Place, Saltcoats.