Ministry cancels Semenya briefing

2010-06-10 12:51

A media conference about athlete Caster Semenya’s gender dispute

was cancelled at short notice by the sports ministry, according to the public

relations company organising the event.

“We do not know the details of why the ministry cancelled on such

short notice. They did not provide us with a reason,” said organiser Liz


“A press release with details of the cancellation will be sent out


The briefing was supposed to discuss Semenya’s future after the

“outcomes” of the gender dispute that followed her 800m win at the world

championships in Germany in August last year.

Semenya’s public relations advisers said yesterday that the

19-year-old runner would appear at the conference in Johannesburg, hosted by

sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile.

Semenya’s lawyers were supposed to attend, along with mediator

Brian Currin, a South African civil and human rights lawyer.

The statement said the news conference would be “related to the

outcomes of the Caster Semenya dispute”.

Semenya had not run competitively since winning the 800m


Her dramatic improvement in running times and muscular build led

the International Association of Athletics Federations to order gender

verification tests on the athlete, who was 18 at the time.

The subsequent gender tests and Australian media reports that

Semenya had both male and female sex organs caused an outrage.

Semenya’s case also entangled Athletics South Africa president

Leonard Chuene, the man in charge of South African athletics.

Last September, Chuene admitted that he lied about his knowledge of

gender tests performed on Semenya in South Africa before the world

championships. He was later suspended.


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