September 11, 2009

Alleged twin gender track star studied

The world athletics governing body is reported seeking a way to deal with runner Caster Semenya, who allegedly has both male and female sexual organs.

Semenya is an 18-year-old South African athlete, a woman with a muscular build, who blew away the field in winning the women's 800-meters gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin last month. But, rumors were buzzing before that.

The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia and The Sun newspaper in Britain reported that gender tests ordered by the International Association of Athletics Federations show Semenya is a hermaphrodite, possessing reproductive organs of both genders. Neither paper named the source.

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies would not discuss the findings with CNN, saying he had not seen the test results, but he urged caution in reporting on the subject.

A final decision on how to handle the Semenya case is not expected before the IAFF meeting in November, he said. Before that, there will be sessions with experts and talks with the athlete.

Our legal advice, Davies told CNN, is that, if she proves to have an advantage because of the male hormones, then it will be extremely difficult to strip the medal off her since she has not cheated.