Semenya bombshell

2009-09-11 00:00

AN Australian newspaper has reported that gender tests on South African athlete Caster Semenya found that she has no womb or ovaries.

The Australian Daily Telegraph reports on its website that the gold medal winner will be advised to undergo an operation as soon as possible, since her condition entails very serious dangers to her health.

According to the report, the tests also showed that Semenya has internal testicles that produce testosterone. She is believed to have three times the amount of testosterone in her body than other female athletes.

Athletics South Africa (ASA) president Leonard Chuene has blasted the report.

“This is a sinister agenda to destroy that little girl,” Chuene told eNews.

He said he won’t debate the rumours emanating from the report, but will go as far as to defend the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The tests were done on the 18-year-old Semenya during last month’s IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin, where she won the gold medal in the 800 metres for women.

The Telegraph states that a well-informed source close to the IAAF says their investigation shows proof that Semenya is intersexed (formerly called a hermaphrodite).

“The IAAF’s problem is that it has the entire ANC and the whole of South Africa on its case.

“Everything that is done must be done exactly by the book, and it has to be beyond any suspicion,” said the source.

Earlier yesterday the secretary-general of the IAAF, Pierre Weiss, told the news agency AFP: “It is clear that she is a woman, but maybe not 100%. We have to see if she has an advantage from her possibly being between two sexes compared to the others.

“We still don’t have all the results and those we do have must be submitted to experts for evaluation.” he said.

Weiss said Semenya’s case will be discussed at an executive board meeting on November 20 and 21, and that until then the IAAF is not willing to disclose any information regarding the case.

Semenya will then know if she still has a future as an international athlete.

“We still don’t have all the results,” said Weiss.

“The results, which are at our disposal, must be submitted to experts for evaluation.

“Our dilemma is whether to use experts from outside the IAAF, or whether we should allow our own medical committee to do the evaluation, or whether it should be done by both.”

According to Weiss, the IAAF could be prevented from disclosing the results of the tests performed on Semenya by the regulations of medical confidentiality.

Semenya will address the media tomorrow at a news conference of Athletics South Africa at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre.

Weiss said that this has been the eighth case concerning an athlete’s gender investigated by the IAAF since 2005.

He revealed that four of the athletes were asked to retire from their athletics careers.

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