Thursday, November 19, 2009

Caster Semenya Testing Continues

Gender tests on South African athlete Caster Semenya are yet to be completed, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) revealed.
The 18-year-old had been expected to find out if she was eligible to compete as a woman on Friday.

But the IAAF said it will not discuss the case at its meeting in Monaco.

Irrespective of the results - as BBC Sport reported in September - Semenya will keep the 800m gold medal she won at the World Championships in August.

South Africa's Department of Sport and Recreation confirmed in a statement: "Because Caster has been found to be innocent of any wrong, she will then retain her gold medal, retain her title of 800m world champion, retain her prize money."

Semenya's achievement at the World Championships in Berlin were overshadowed by the gender test revelations.

Depending on the test results, she could be suspended, told to have surgery or cleared to run as a woman.

The IAAF statement read: "The IAAF, the South African ministry of sport and recreation and Caster Semenya's representatives have been and still are in discussions with a view to resolving the issues surrounding Caster Semenya's participation in athletics.

"The IAAF will not comment upon the medical aspects of Caster Semenya's case. The medical testing of the athlete is still to be completed.

"There will be no discussion of Caster Semenya's case at the forthcoming IAAF council meeting to be held in Monaco on 20-21 November 2009. No further comment will be made on this subject until further notice."

BBC Sport understands the tests are likely to reveal Semenya, who is currently training at the University of Pretoria, has an intersex status.

Semenya burst on to the world scene when she ran one minute, 56.72 seconds for the 800m in July, smashing her previous personal best by more than seven seconds.
She also broke Zola Budd's long-standing South African 800m record before arriving in Berlin as the newly crowned African junior champion.

The teenager then left her rivals trailing in Berlin to win by 2.5 seconds from 2007 champion Janeth Jepkosgei in 1.55.45, the fastest time of the year.

Before the race, it was revealed that the IAAF demanded Semenya take a gender test before the World Championships amid fears she might not be able to run as a woman.

Following the findings of initial tests, the IAAF asked South Africa to withdraw her from their team for Germany but Athletics South Africa (ASA) insisted she should run and has since said it is certain she is female, a claim backed up by her family.

Earlier this month, South Africa's Olympic governing body suspended ASA president Leonard Chuene after he admitted that he lied about whether Semenya had been gender tested before Berlin.

The ASA board and its members have also been suspended pending a disciplinary investigation into the matter.


  1. I completely disagree with the way that Caster's sexuality has become a fireside chat topic on an international scale. Not only should her test results (if necessary) be kept private, but she should also allowed to the decency of having the 'issue' of her sexuality kept private. This does not even begin to describe the psychological repercussions that Caster Semenya may have due to the fact that she discovered her intersexuality at the same time as the rest of the world did.


  2. I agree with Mivoice. It is not fair and it is a huge violation of her human rights. She should have been treated with the utmost respect regardless of who or what she was. She is still a human being and some parents find it best not to tell the child you have both sets of organs and to let the child develop. It is cruel and unfair that she has suffered this, and now will probably have to go for counseling so she does not take her own life as people assumed she would. Some things are meant to be kept private, but others...anyway my prayers to her and her family for dealing with this heated topic.

  3. Ditto. What a traumatic thing to go through at 18