Caster Semenya: Gender Test For Track Star at World Championships
The IAAF has asked South Africa's track and field federation to conduct a test after doubts were raised about women's sprinter Caster Semenya's gender.
Caster Semenya is considered a favorite in the 800-meters at the 2009 Track and Field World Championships. Her dominance has caused speculation that Caster Semanya is male.
According to her coach, Michael Seme, there has been speculation about Semenya’s gender for a while now and he feels it’s important that he clears the air to avoid any future controversy.
“We understand that people will ask questions because she looks like a man. It’s a natural reaction and it’s only human to be curious,” said Seme.
Seme added that when they stopped at a petrol station in Cape Town recently and Semenya entered the female toilets, the petrol attendants prevented her from doing so because they were convinced she was a man.
“Caster just laughed and asked if they would like her to take off her pants to show them she was a woman,” said Seme.
Actually, answering the Caster Semanya gender question is more complicated than just asking her to take down her pants.
IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said the "extremely complex, difficult" test has been started but that the results were not expected for weeks. The verification 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.
UPDATE: Caster Semenya easily won gold in the 800 metres at the 2009 World Track and Field World champsionshiips. So what happens to her medal if the IAAF proves she's a male.
"I can't say that if 'X' happens in the future that we will, for example, retroactively strip results. It's legally very complex," Davies said. "If there's a problem and it turns out that there's been a fraud ... that someone has changed sex, then obviously it would be much easier to strip results," Davies added. "However, if it's a natural thing and the athlete has always thought she's a woman or been a woman, it's not exactly cheating."