Sunday, October 4, 2009

IAAF:Caster Semenya case is still pending

The ruling athletics body IAAF is still examining the results of Caster Semenya's gender test and has called for co-operation from the 800m world champion's home country of South Africa. "The case is still pending," IAAF president Lamine Diack told German Press Agency dpa at the International Olympic Committee congress in Copenhagen.

"We are analysing our own results from Berlin. We need the co-operation from South Africa. The final decision will be made by the IAAF Council," Diack said.

The affair which started in August soured relationships between the IAAF and South Africa, but repair efforts are being made.

The IAAF announced just hours before the 800m final in August in Berlin that it was conducting sex tests on her. Semenya burst onto the scene two weeks before the worlds with the leading 2009 time and questions were also raised over her masculine physique.

South Africa reacted outraged over the affair and rallied behind the teenaged runner.

But the nation's athletics supremo Leonard Chuene admitted last month that tests in South Africa were carried out before the worlds and that she competed against the team doctor's advice in order to get a gold for the country.

The IAAF has not made any official comment since saying in September that it received results from its own tests in Berlin.

It did not confirm Australian news reports that Semenya was intersex, with male and female sex organs, referring to its council meeting on November 20-21 when a ruling on the complicated case involving lawyers and doctors is expected.

Meanwhile, dpa understands that South Africa has still not passed on the results of its own tests on Semenya to the IAAF.

Chuene's future in the ruling body is unclear but he said he wanted to rejoin the council after initially quitting in protest.

The IAAF is also believed to have not yet talked to Semenya, the most important part of the puzzle leading to a verdict. If she is intersex, it is crucial to know whether or not she was aware of her condition. Her running future would depend on a necessary operation.

The IAAF must decide whether it treats the case as a purely medical affair or in a sports context as well. This is important regarding whether Semenya will be able to keep her gold medal.

While the IAAF appears to lean towards the sports context, IOC medical commission chairperson Arne Ljungqvist said that he sees the case as "a medical matter."

Ljungqvist told the IOC congress on Saturday he did not want to discuss individuals, but he did reveal that similar cases had occurred at the Olympics, without ever being published.

"We have had similar cases at the Olympics, but confidentiality was kept and should be kept," he said.