Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gender controversy athlete lands in South Africa

(South African Catholic: also appeared at: Social Justice South Africa 26 / 08 | August / 2009; c.f. Sports24 (Secular; Independent; South African; part of News24) 25 / 08 | August / 2009 ; 25 / 08 | August / 2009 ; 25 / 08 | August / 2009)

-----UPDATED VERSION OF ARTICLE-----

Notation by Marc Aupiais

Pretoria local: Caster Semenya, the athlete who has struck up controversy internationally, due to the athlete's appearance being very much like that of a male of the species, a masculine voice, and running times like those of a male athlete: has landed in South Africa.

Sports24 has noted reports of elevated levels of male hormones in her blood, reportedly this information comes from testosterone testing. The UK Telegraph having reportedly reported that the Athlete has three times the normal female level of testosterone.

Semenya's mother insists that she is female, and locally, much of the reporting on the issue has sided with Semenya. The South African Council of Churches' youth wing has condemned international speculation which has lead to requests for gender testing, and members of the African National Congress (leftist ruling party in South Africa) have also stood on the side of the athlete at the centre of the controversy.

The Head Coach of the South African national athletics team (Dr Ekkart Arbeit), according to News24, has now been accused by East German Heidi Krieger of giving her high doses of anabolic steroids.

A birth certificate claiming that the Pretoria athlete is female has been presented to the BBC, by some of those on the side of Semenya.

The president of the international athletics body concerned: Lamine Diak, has reportedly raised concern over a seeming leak of confidentiality.

The IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) has asked local athletics authorities to carry out gender testing- a complex process which the BBC reports should take weeks, if the local body even conducts these at all.

The fact that gender testing is not done on all athletes- seems based on the complexity of the process and the time it takes to conduct.

According to News 24, Athletics SA President Leonard Chuene informed reporters:

"We are not going to allow Europeans to describe and define our child... we will define our child,"
(Sports24 (Secular; Independent; South African; part of News24) 25 / 08 | August / 2009)

This seems to hint that local authorities may not co-operate.

News24 reports that tests on Semenya are ongoing.

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