Friday, September 11, 2009

Caster Semenya Gender Test: Outrage, Worry In South Africa Over Report
















PRETORIA, South Africa — Caster Semenya had heard the taunts and whispers – that she was different from other girls. Now the most intimate details of her anatomy are headline news, and there is worry about how the 18-year-old runner from a poor South African village will handle it all.
Two Australian newspapers reported Friday that gender tests show the world champion athlete has no ovaries or uterus and internal testes that produce large amounts of testosterone. The international sports federation that ordered the tests wouldn't confirm the reports.
The International Association of Athletics Federations, which ordered the gender tests, refused to confirm or deny the reports. In a statement, the IAAF said it is reviewing the test results and will issue a final decision in November.
South African Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile expressed horror at the handling of the affair and insisted Caster is female.
"We think her human rights have been violated and her privacy invaded," Stofile said, adding that Semenya should be given legal advice and counseling.
Semenya dropped out of sight Friday. The South African Press Association quoted her coach, Michael Seme, as saying she would not take part in a 4,000-meter race at the South African Cross Country Championships in Pretoria on Saturday because she was "not feeling well." Seme had said earlier in the week that she would run.
Semenya won the 800-meter race at the world championships in Berlin on Aug. 19 by 2.45 seconds in a world-record 1 minute, 55.45 seconds. Even before that, though, her dramatic improvement in times, muscular build and deep voice had prompted speculation about her gender.
The international federation had asked South African track and field authorities to conduct the gender verification test after she posted a world-leading time of 1:56.72 at the African junior championships in July.

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