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30 March 2010

Caster should run: lawyer

Caster Semenya's lawyers say the 800m world champion, who has undergone gender verification tests, should be allowed to run in a meet Tuesday.

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Caster Semenya's lawyers say the 800m world champion, who has undergone gender verification tests, should be allowed to run in a meet Tuesday, according to Athletics South Africa acting head Ray Mali.

Mali told The Associated Press on Monday that he held a conference call with Semenya and her lawyers earlier in the day, and the lawyers said Semenya should be cleared to return to competitive athletics for the first time since the controversy surrounding her gender broke.

"As I speak now there is no clarity," Mali said in a telephone interview with the AP. "I am engaging the (IAAF [International Association of Athletics Federations) who are handling this. Her lawyers are saying she must run."

Waiting for response from IAAF

Mali said he was waiting for a response from the IAAF over whether it would clear Semenya to run in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town, in the Yellow Pages Series V meet.

"If the IAAF say no and Caster goes on to run it could have far-reaching implications for athletics," Mali said. "I am trying to bring the IAAF on board."

The Johannesburg office of Semenya's lawyers, Dewey and LeBoeuf, did not reply Monday to requests for comment from the AP.

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said he had "no information" of any developments.

Gender tests

Semenya won the women's 800-meter race at the 2009 world championships in Berlin. Her dramatic improvement in times and muscular build led the IAAF to order gender tests.

She has not run competitively since, and the IAAF is still reviewing the test results to determine Semenya's eligibility. The organisation has refused to confirm or deny Australian media reports that the tests indicate Semenya has both male and female sex organs.

Although there is no ban or suspension preventing Semenya from competing, it is thought that the 19-year-old runner had agreed not to race until the IAAF releases its findings. - (GERALD IMRAY/Sapa, March 2010)

 
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