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Diack to meet Semenya over gender tests

Saturday October 17 2009

By SUNDAY NATION Correspondent

Lamine Diack, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, plans to travel to South Africa for a face-to-face meeting with Caster Semenya to explain the results of her gender verification test.

Semenya, whose 800 metres victory at the World Championships in August has been overshadowed by the row over her ambiguous gender, has yet to be notified about the medical examination she underwent following her triumph in Berlin, despite leaked reports that she is a hermaphrodite, with both male and female sexual organs.

The test results are still being scrutinised by scientific experts and lawyers but Diack, a Senegalese, hopes to be in a position to fly to South Africa to meet the 18 year-old before the end of the month. With Diack also being an African, it is hoped the trip will help to ease some of the racial tensions that have emerged as a result of the case.

Speaking after her gender test, the president of Athletics South Africa Leonard Chuene said: “Who are white people to question the make-up of an African girl? I say this is racism, pure and simple.” Chuene has since admitted he lied about knowing of gender tests carried out on Semenya before the World Championship in Berlin.

Diack’s personal involvement reflects the high importance the IAAF attaches to resolving the controversy. The trip would also give Diack an opportunity to build bridges with the South African government which has been highly critical of the IAAF’s handling of the affair.

Semenya has also engaged an American law firm to advise her on human and civil rights matters and is considering taking legal action against the world governing body for breaching her right to confidentiality.

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Diack, who may be accompanied by Professor Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s medical commission, hopes to discuss with Semenya the implications of her gender test results.

Compiled from iaaf.org

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