Semenya Caster Rumors Abound
MONACO — The IAAF said Friday it is reviewing results of gender tests on South African runner Caster Semenya and will not issue any final decision until November.
The International Association of Athletics Federations did not confirm or deny Australian newspaper reports that the recently crowned women’s world 800-meter champion has male and female sexual organs.
“We would like to emphasize that these should not be considered as official statements by the IAAF,” the federation said in a statement regarding the reports that first appeared in News Limited and Fairfax newspapers.
The Australian newspaper reported in its Friday edition that medical reports on the 18-year-old Semenya indicate she has no ovaries, but rather has internal male testes, which are producing large amounts of testosterone.
“We can officially confirm that gender verification test results will be examined by a group of medical experts,” the IAAF said in a written statement. “No decision on the case will be communicated until the IAAF has had the opportunity to complete this examination. We do not expect to make a final decision on this case before the next meeting of the IAAF Council which takes place in Monaco on November 20-21.”
At a news conference in Greece on Friday, IAAF general secretary Pierre Weiss, IAAF vice president Sergei Bubka and other association officials refused to comment on the Semenya case and distributed the IAAF’s written statement to reporters.
The IAAF officials are in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki for this weekend’s World Athletics Final.
After dominating her race at the world championships in Berlin last month, Semenya underwent blood and chromosome tests, as well as a gynecological examination.
Earlier, in an e-mail to The Associated Press, IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said Thursday the IAAF had obtained the results but couldn’t confirm the Australian news reports.
“I simply haven’t seen the results,” Davies said. “We have received the results from Germany, but they now need to be examined by a group of experts and we will not be in a position to speak to the athlete about them for at least a few weeks.
“After that, depending on the results, we will meet privately with the athlete to discuss further action.”
Semenya’s father, Jacob, expressed anger when contacted by the AP on Friday morning, saying people who insinuate his daughter is not a woman “are sick. They are crazy.”
He said he had not been told anything by the IAAF, Athletics South Africa or his daughter.
“I know nothing,” he said.
Davies said the newspaper’s report “should be treated with caution.”
The IAAF has said Semenya probably would keep her medal because the case was not related to a doping matter.
“Our legal advice is that, if she proves to have an advantage because of the male hormones, then it will be extremely difficult to strip the medal off her, since she has not cheated,” Davies wrote to the AP. “She was naturally made that way, and she was entered in Berlin by her team and accepted by the IAAF. But let’s wait and see once we have the final decision.”
Leonard Chuene, the president of Athletics South Africa, told the AP that all he has heard from the IAAF is that the test results will be available in November.
“The results are not in the country yet, so we cannot comment on anything,” Chuene said.
South African sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile said he has no doubts about Semenya’s gender.
“She’s a woman,” Stofile said. “She remains our heroine. We must protect her.”
Associated Press writer Donna Bryson in Johannesburg and AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich in New York contributed to this report.
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