Semenya's tests to be kept private

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pretoria - The results of Caster Semenya's gender testing will not be revealed to the public, the Department of Sports and Recreation has announced.

The department said the 800m champion would also keep the gold medal she earned at the Berlin World Championships.

This follows discussions with the International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF), where it was agreed that whatever scientific tests were conducted legally within the IAAF regulations, would be treated as a confidential matter between patient and doctor.

"As such there will be no public announcement of what the panel of scientists has found. We urge all South Africans and other people to respect this professional ethical and moral way of doing things," a statement said.

The department said the implications of the scientific findings on Semenya's health and life going forward would be analysed by the athlete and she would make her own decision on her future.

The department asked the IAAF to apologise for the way in which the Semenya saga was dealt.

The federation responded to the request, saying: "It is deeply regrettable that information of a confidential nature entered the public domain." The IAAF is adamant that the public discourse did not originate with them.

The 18-year-old shot to fame after wining the 800m title but her triumph was soon dashed when news broke that the IAAF had performed gender tests on the athlete.

The move sparked an outrage and unleashed a political storm in South Africa, and the IAAF was accused of violating Semenya's privacy.

One of the casualties of the debacle was Athletics South Africa (ASA) President Leonard Chuene, who was suspended. He admitted to having lied about tests being conducted on Semenya before she left for Berlin.

The South African Olympics Committee (SASCOC) later suspended the entire ASA board for the manner in which they had handled the issue.

SASCOC has in the meantime appointed one of its members, Ray Mali, to get the ASA house in order.