Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Semenya wins gold in 800m!

Caster SemenyaSouth African teenage sensation, Caster Semenya, won the 2009 IAAF World Championships 800m race in spectacular fashion in 1 minute 55.45 seconds, comfortably beating former champion Janeth Jepkosgei from Kenya by 2.45 seconds.

Britain's Jennifer Meadows took bronze. Semenya's time is this year's fastest and the fifth-fastest of all time.

Video - Caster Semenya wins 800m gold in Berlin


Semenya wins 800m gold at 2009 world championships in BerlinOnly 18 years old, Semenya has stunned the athletics world with her rapid success this season but unfortunately she has also been shrouded in controversy. IAAF officials ordered South Africa's athletics association (ASA) to do a gender verification test but it's a very complex procedure and the outcome will only be known in a few weeks. The IAAF has decided that the athlete will be allowed to compete pending the results of such a test.


The reason why the gender test is complex is because it's not simply a matter of determining whether a person has male or female sexual organs. That does not constitute male or female. You can have male characteristics without having male organs, and vice versa. Proper gender testing will be done by a group of medical scientists like gynecologists, psychologists, geneticists and endocrinologists. Hence the long waiting period for the test results.

I found the comments by a few of the british commentators after the race and some australian news articles to be extremely insensitive about the matter, since the athlete is not a cheat nor has anyone even suggested that she was. The IAAF has at least confirmed that they themselves are sensitive to gender issues. She's very young and if this matter is not handled correctly, it could scar her for life.

Related links
Caster Semenya wins 800m Gold - The Times
The centre of controversy - iafrica.com


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