POSTED: January 16th 2010

Semenya career still on hold: IOC goes indepth on gender testing

South Africa's Caster Semenya, left, won the gold medal in the final of the Women's 800m during the World Athletics Championships in Berlin / Image: Fotosports
South Africa's Caster Semenya, left, won the gold medal in the final of the Women's 800m during the World Athletics Championships in Berlin / Image: Fotosports

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

JOHANNESBURG, Jan. 16: South African runner Caster Semenya is still on ice, not yet eligible to compete, while she is waiting for a resolution by the IAAF over her gender testing.

Conflicting information had appeared earlier this week in the press as her coach, Michael Seme, had spoken of a new schedule, starting next month for the women’s 800m world champion, including races at the national South African track and field championships, as well as Semenya’s attendance at global events.

South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) president, Gideon Sam, looked to clarify the situation.

He said, “Let’s be very clear on one thing, as things stand, Caster Semenya is not eligible to run in any sanctioned meeting or race. The matter over the results of her gender test are still sitting with the international parent association, the IAAF. They are still conducting their work and the process is ongoing. And we have to respect the privacy of the athlete, so any ‘confirmation’ is premature.

“SASCOC is waiting for the IAAF to consult with Caster Semenya on a personal level and the matter is between them and her. When things are resolved we will all be in a better position, but until the case is closed, it would be irresponsible for us to clear our world champion to compete again,” he concluded.

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies has confirmed that the official position of the world athletics body is that they aren’t making comments until they have resolved her case.

Now it appears Seme is backing off refusing to comment when asked for clarifications as to when Semenya will be back on the starting blocks.  

IOC at indepth study in Miami Beach this weekend

The IOC is participating a special meeting right now in Miami Beach, Florida January 15-17 to further study how to deal with “ambiguous” gender cases. The 2nd World Conference on Hormonal and Genetic Basis of Sexual Differentiation Disorders gathered scientists and federation physicians to discuss how to deal with these particular cases.

IOC medical commission chairman Arne Ljungqvist told the Associated Press that “Sometimes you come across cases that are uncertain and ambiguous, and it changes from being a sports matter to a medical matter. That’s where we need to have a review.”

The IOC formerly used mandatory gender exams, however the screening process for chromosome testing was considered unscientific and unethical and the system was eliminated prior to the Sydney 2000 Games.

Keywords · Caster Semenya · IAAF · Michael Seme · South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) · Gideon Sam · IOC · Arne Ljungqvist

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