Accessibility links

South Africans React Angrily to Leaked Gender Tests on World Champion Runner


Sporting officials in South Africa have reacted angrily to leaked gender tests on South African world champion runner Caster Semenya. The reaction came after newspapers in Australia and Britain reported the examination showed she had both male and female characteristics.

Sporting officials condemned the publication Friday of reportedly leaked test results saying women's 800-meter world champion Caster Semenya had both female and male internal organs.

A spokesman for the International Association of Athletics Federations, Nick Davies, said it had received the results but would not release its conclusion for several weeks. The spokesman said to treat the news reports with caution.

Officials and South Africans in general expressed outrage over what they saw as an extreme violation of the 18 year-old woman's privacy.

Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile noted that Semenya had been examined and cleared many times at previous competitions. "This is as disgusting as it is unethical. To us Caster remains our heroine and we strongly believe that our government and all well-meaning citizens should protect Miss Semenya, protect her rights and protect her interests," he said.

He said the authorities would refer the matter to their lawyers in order to protect her individual and human rights.

Semenya was given blood and chromosome tests as well as a physical examination last month before the World Athletics Championships in Berlin in which she won the gold medal in the women's 800-meter race.

The tests, which were leaked to the media, reportedly showed her levels of testosterone were higher than average for a female although some experts said they still were much lower than the average level for males.

Similar cases have occurred in the past. But the South African public has been particularly incensed by the breach of confidentiality in this case and the pain it has caused the athlete's family which lives in an impoverished village in northeastern Limpopo Province.

XS
SM
MD
LG