The IAAF has asked the South African athletics federation to conduct a gender verification test on 800-meter runner Caster Semenya amid concerns she does not meet the requirements to compete as a woman. Caster Semenya.
The 18-year-old Semenya won the 800 final on Wednesday at the world championships in a world leading 1 minute, 55.45 seconds, beating defending
champion Janeth Jepkosgei by a massive 2.45 seconds. Jennifer Meadows of Britain took bronze. Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo was eliminated in qualifying.
The IAAF requested the gender test about three weeks ago, after Semenya
burst onto the scene by slicing her personal bests in the 800 and 1,500 by huge
IAAF spokesman Nick Davies stressed that "it's a medical issue, not
an issue of cheating." He said the "extremely complex, difficult" test has
been started but that the results were not expected for weeks.
The verification test requires a physical medical evaluation, and includes reports from a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, an internal medicine specialist and an expert on gender.
"So we're talking about reports that are very long, very time consuming," Davies said. South Africa team manager Phiwe Mlangeni-Tsholetsane would not confirm or deny that Semenya was having a gender test, but said "there was no cheating on our part." "We entered Caster as a woman and we want to keep it that way," Mlangeni-Tsholetsane said. " Our conscience is clear in terms of Caster. We have no reservations at all about that."
Although medals will be awarded for the 800, the race remains under a cloud
until the investigation is closed, and Semenya could be stripped of the gold
depending on the test results, IAAF general secretary Pierre Weiss said.
"If at the end of the investigation it is proven that the athlete is not female, we will withdraw the medal," Weiss said. "But today there is no proof and the benefit of doubt must always be in favor of the athlete."
Semenya qualified for Wednesday's final with a top time of 1 minute, 58.64 seconds, and posted the world's top time this year of 1:56.72 three weeks ago at the African junior championships in Bambous, Mauritius.
Does anyone besides me find this HILARIOUSLY FUNNY?!?! I mean I am just saying...I wouldn't fight her!