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IAAF launches investigation into S/African’s sexuality

By  Onochie Anibeze, in Berlin

South Africa’s women’s 800 metres world championship finalist Caster Semenya is to have her sexuality verified, the sport’s governing body the IAAF announced on Wednesday.

SEMENYA
SEMENYA

The 18-year-old has been a revelation this year first domestically where she vastly improved her times at 800m and 1500m and also here where she has won both her races.

However, IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said that there would be no immediate resolution to the investigation and that Semenya could compete in the final.

“The gender verification test is an extremely complex procedure,” said Davies.“The situation today (Wednesday) is that we do not have any conclusive evidence that she should not be allowed to run.

“It would be wrong today (Wednesday) to take a decision to withdraw an athlete when the procedure is going to take several weeks to resolve.”

Davies did reveal that the question had first been raised after Semenya’s astonishing performances at the African junior championships.

“In the case of this athlete, following her breakthrough in the African junior championships, the rumours, the gossip were starting to build up,” said Davies.

Semenya has already been involved in a controversial incident at the championships.
During the 800m heats, she became entangled with defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei on the final bend and brought down the Kenyan.

Semenya managed to just about keep on her feet, showed great composure and ran out an easy winner.She has also displayed a certain nonchalance regarding her future in the sport as was in evidence after her semi-final on Monday.
“Running is just a game for me,” said Semenya. “Even next year, I can stop running if I want.”

There have been precedents in such cases, the most famous being that of Polish athletics great Stella Walsh (also known as Stanislawa Walasiewicz) who won Olympic gold in the 100 yards at the 1932 Olympics and silver in the same event in the 1936 Olympics here in Berlin.
However, after she was shot dead during an armed robbery in 1980, the subsequent autopsy revealed she possessed male genitalia, although she also had female characteristics as well.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have now dropped gender determination tests.


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