SA athletes can compete in IAAF events for now

Thursday, November 12, 2009
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - Athletics South Africa (ASA) will for the time being remain eligible to compete in events sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Last week, the Olympic governing body, South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) suspended ASA President Leonard Chuene, the board and its members with immediate effect over their handling of the Caster Semenya saga.

But on Wednesday morning the federation named a provisional team to compete at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland next March.

SASCOC President Gideon Sam said they would be allowed to participate in IAAF events until SASCOC received a response from the world governing body for the sport.

"They can enter IAAF events until such time as the IAAF recognises our suspension. SASCOC has sent the IAAF a letter, informing them that ASA has been suspended, and we are waiting for them to get back to us," he said.

In August, Semenya won the women's 800 metre title at the World Championships in Berlin.

The IAAF had already begun a gender verification process prior to the race but Semenya was allowed to compete pending the outcome of the tests.

It was subsequently disclosed that ASA conducted gender verification tests on Semenya in South Africa before she competed in Berlin.

Chuene later admitted lying about the tests, saying he wanted to protect the athlete's privacy.