Gold medal winner Semenya is to undergo gender test

Gold medal winner Semenya is to undergo gender test

Caster Semenya

The 18-year-old Semenya shot to fame last month, running the 800 metres at the African Junior Championships in 1:56.72, the fastest time in the world this year.

She maintained that form here and blazed to another world leading 1:55.45 in the final on Wednesday, winning by a 15M margin but her looks have triggered plenty of questions here.

“It is a complex procedure,” IAAF spokesperson Nick Davies had said earlier in the day on her participation. “The situation is that we do not have any conclusive evidence that she should not be allowed to run. It would be wrong to take a decision to withdraw an athlete when the procedure is going to take several weeks to resolve,” he said.
Rumours have been doing the rounds ever since Semenya burst onto the scene and her manly appearance only fuelled the whispers about her gender.

Semenya, from Limpopo Province in South Africa, first hit the headlines after smashing Zola Budd’s national junior record, timing 2:00.58 in March this year. The record had been in the book for 25 years.

Davies said it would be wrong to blame Semenya. “This is a medical condition. It is nothing that she has done. There is a need to make sure rules are followed,” he said.
Semenya competed in the world junior championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, last year but was eliminated in the heats. She then won the 800M at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, timing 2:04.23.

 A recent case involving the gender issue came in 2006 when India’s S Shanthi was stripped of her Asian Games 800M silver medal after failing a test in Doha

Jamaicans pull out

Meanwhile, five Jamaican track and field athletes expected to run in the 4x100 and 4x400 metres relays at the World championships have been pulled off the team, the IAAF said on Wednesday.

Sprinters Yohan Blake, Marvin Anderson and Sheri-Ann Brooks as well as Allodin Fothergill and Lansford Spence had tested positive for the stimulant methylxanthine but were allowed to race by the IAAF pending an appeal.

"Jamaica will not enter these athletes. The news I have is that they will not be running," Davies said. Asked whether it was a Jamaican decision to remove them from the relay teams, Davies said: "Yes".  The athletes were initially cleared by the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission's (JADCO) disciplinary committee.  However, JADCO itself then appealed the verdict saying the substance had a similar structure to tuaminoheptane, a banned stimulant according to the World Anti-Doping Agency. 

Jamaica had earlier said that a final ruling on the matter would be taken after Championships conclude on August 23.

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