Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gender bender on IAAF agenda

Dan Silkstone in Berlin
August 19, 2009 - 11:44AM

South African middle-distance sensation Caster Semenya was at the centre of an inquiry on Tuesday over concerns about whether she is a male or female.

The 18-year-old has emerged in recent months as a top 800 metres runner, and won her semi-final in commanding fashion at Berlin's Olympic Stadium on Monday night, eliminating Kenya's Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo along the way.

But the South African's physique and powerful style have sparked speculation in recent months that she might not be entirely female. IAAF rules state that competitors must be entirely female to compete in women's races but some people are born with a mixture of chromosomes and display both male and female characteristics.

The Herald understands that the world athletics governing body, the IAAF, has conducted a series of tests on the South African, including physical checks and genetic screening.

Officials were to meet late Tuesday to decide whether the teenager from Pretoria would be able to compete in the 800m final on Wednesday.

Australians John Steffensen, Joel Milburn and Sean Wroe cruised into the semi-finals of the men's 400m on Tuesday.

Steffensen was an impressive second in his heat in 45.37 seconds, behind reigning Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt from the United States (45.23s).

Petrina Price narrowly missed out on the high jump final, while Benn Harradine was eliminated in the qualifying round of the men's discus.

Source: Click here


  1. This is very sad if this isn't true at all. And very horrific for this person either way.

  2. I feel bad for her because she probably has been mocked all her life. At least she can be finally do something that she can be proud of. Besides, why are they questioning her gender now after she won. If there was a problem, they should have checked her out discreetly before the race instead of embarrassing her after she won.