Thursday, November 19, 2009

Semenya will compete again, says sports minister

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's sports minister said overnight he believes that world 800-metre champ Caster Semenya could compete again in women's athletics, after a storm over testing to determine her gender.
"In my view Caster Semenya's future is in her hands. She can decide to run as a girl, which she is," Makhenkesi Stofile said, according to the Sapa news agency.
The ministry said earlier in a statement that Semenya's lawyers, South Africa's government and the world athletics governing body IAAF had reached "total agreement" on her title won amid a storm over her gender at the Berlin championships in August.
The parties also agreed that scientific tests into her gender will be remain confidential, but their statement have no clear details on the runner's competitive future.
But the IAAF said Wednesday that gender testing was not yet complete for the athlete, a first year sports science student who grew up in a rural village in northern South Africa.
Her rapid speed gains this year prompted questions about the gender of the runner, who has a deep voice and a muscular physique.
Leaked test results said Semenya was a hermaphrodite, sparking anger from the South African public and government, who have rallied behind the athlete.
The IAAF has numerous options when it considers the results of her testing -- they could ban her from competing again, require that she undergo surgery, or take no action.
The entire board of Athletics South Africa (ASA) was suspended by the national Olympic committee this month over its handling of the Semenya row, after ASA boss Leonard Chuene admitted he knew about gender tests conducted on the athlete prior to the world championships.
ASA has apologised to the nation for the debacle, after a damning investigation by the ruling African National Congress.Read More....


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