Semenya 'cannot race at this stage'

Controversial South African runner told she must wait until gender case resolved.

    Semenya will not be allowed to return to local or national competition [AFP]
    South African athlete Caster Semenya will not be allowed to compete until a resolution has been reached in her gender case, according to her country's athletics association.

    Semenya underwent gender verification tests after she won the women's 800 metres at the Berlin world championships last August, following a rapid improvement in her performances.

    The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has not revealed the results of the tests.

    Athletics South Africa (ASA) administrator Ray Mali said the 19-year-old athlete would be allowed to race only once the IAAF had cleared her.

    No competitions

    "We can only allow her to participate in events once we get clarity from the IAAF, not at this stage," Mali said.

    Local media on Thursday quoted Semenya's coach Michael Seme as saying she was preparing to participate in a local series event beginning on February 19.

    Seme had said that despite the media storm over the investigation into her gender, Semenya never thought about quitting.

    "She never thinks of leaving athletics. She is always willing to run, not quitting," he said.

    Mali said he would push for a decision from the IAAF but until then Semenya would be restricted to training with other athletes.

    Semenya's father Jacob was also unable to confirm whether she would be competing or not.

    "Whether she runs or not, only God knows," he said.

    Neither the South African federation nor the IAAF has said publicly under what circumstances Semenya would be allowed to continue to compete as a female.

    Semenya's rapid speed gains last year prompted questions about the gender of the runner, who has a deep voice and a muscular physique.

    Leaked test results said Semenya was a hermaphrodite, sparking anger from the South African public and government, who rallied behind the athlete.

    Athletics South Africa’s board was suspended last year amid an outcry over its handling of the saga.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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