Sunday, August 23, 2009

SA parties blast Athletics Federation

South Africa's ruling party, the Africa National Congress and other parties have described the investigations into athlete Caster Semenya's gender as racism of the highest order. International Association of Athletics Federations has ordered tests for Semenya to verify her gender.
"We condemn the motives of those who have made it their business to question her gender due to her physique and running style. Such comments can only serve to portray women as being weak," the ANC said in a statement.
The scrutiny increased after she won the women's 800m on Wednesday. IAAF general secretary Pierre Weiss said an investigation into Semenya's gender was under way in both South Africa and Berlin.

He said the IAAF gave the 18-year-old the benefit of the doubt and allowed her to compete but if the investigation proved she was not female the result of the race would be withdrawn.

"This smacks of racism of the highest order. It represents a mentality of conforming feminine outlook within the white race," the Young Communist League said in a statement on Thursday.

"The [Venus and Serena] Williams sisters were never subjected to such public humiliation as is done by the international athletic body. Is it because they are of American descent?" read the statement.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) also criticized the IAAF while praising Semenya. "Your country is very proud of your historic achievement, all the more remarkable given that you come from a poor rural community in Limpopo with few facilities for sport," said Cosatu in a statement.

"Cosatu rejects with contempt the attempts by those who tried to undermine her success by raising bogus and groundless queries about her gender."

Semenya clocked 1 minute, 55,45 seconds for the year's fastest time and a personal best by more than a second.

A group of doctors, including an endocrinologist, a gynaecologist, an internal medicine expert, an expert on gender and a psychologist have started the gender test but the results may not be known for days, if not weeks.
Source: Africa News

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