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Track star to undergo gender test

[ 2009-08-21 17:08]     字号 [] [] []  
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South Africa's newly-crowned women's 800 meters world champion Caster Semenya must undergo a gender test, the sport's governing body, the IAAF, announced on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old has been a revelation this year. At home, she vastly improved her times at 800m and 1500m, and then in Berlin she trounced defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei by more than 2 1/2 seconds.

Semenya did not attend a post-race press conference; IAAF secretary general Pierre Weiss took her place.

"I am replacing the winner here tonight. A double investigation is being conducted - one in South Africa, one in Berlin," said Weiss.

He reiterated that the outcome of the gender test would not be known for some time.

"I am not a doctor but all the doctors who conducted investigations tell me this sort of thing takes weeks or months," said Weiss.

Weiss insisted that it was not fair to put such a young and inexperienced athlete up in front of the press.

"We know you want to talk to her, but she is young, she is inexperienced and she is not able to reply properly to all your questions. I will answer for her. The decision not to put her up here was taken by the IAAF and the South African federation.

"If at the end of the investigation we find out she is not a woman, we will withdraw the medal and redistribute it. But there is nothing which would have stopped her from running today."

Weiss said that they would be completely open once the investigation was finished and admitted it was a headache that the IAAF could have done without. But as Semenya had been a total unknown a few weeks ago it had not been a problem they had anticipated.

Earlier, IAAF spokesman Nick Davies revealed the question had first been raised after Semenya's astonishing performances at the African junior championships.

"In the case of this athlete, following her breakthrough in the African junior championships, the rumors, the gossip were starting to build up," said Davies.

There have been precedents in such cases, the most famous being that of Polish athletics great Stella Walsh. Walsh won Olympic gold in the 100 yards at the 1932 Olympics and silver in the same event in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

However, after she was shot dead during an armed robbery in 1980, the subsequent autopsy revealed she possessed male genitalia, although she also had female characteristics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has now dropped gender determination tests.

Track star to undergo gender test

About the broadcaster:

Track star to undergo gender test

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move