16 September 2009

Semenya 'shattered' by reports

Caster Semenya is "completely shattered" by Australian media claims that she is a hermaphrodite, news reports have claimed.


Caster Semenya is "completely shattered" by Australian media claims that she is a hermaphrodite, news reports have claimed.

"She is completely shattered by all that has been said about her," Semenya's spokeswoman, Phiwe Mlangeni-Tsholetsane of Athletics South Africa (ASA), told the "Caster does not shy away from what is being said about her, but she finds the negative and intrusive parts very upsetting."

She said the claims Semenya had internal testicles and no ovaries, as was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald last week, have left her in a "fragile" state of mind. "The claims about her body over the past week have had a very damaging effect. She is only just an adult - she's very young to have to cope with something like this.

"Reports last week of the so-called 'leaked test results' were very hard for her, but she wants to know what the world is saying so she read and watched it all," said Mlangeni-Tsholetsane.

Semenya could do with some positive media coverage, she added. "Caster is a strong woman but even she has her limits. It would do her so much good to read some positive pieces."

Just wants to focus on training
Talk Radio 702 said on Wednesday Semenya had spoken to one of its reporters, but that she refused to be recorded because of the comments she received about her deep voice.

She told the radio station that she just wanted to focus on her training.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that American star athlete Carl Lewis blamed ASA for Semenya's predicament. He said ASA had handled the situation badly.

"Here is an 18-year-old young woman, because that's what she feels she is, let down every step along the way... the South African federation should have dealt with it and I think the federation let her down," Lewis said on a visit to Tel Aviv.

"It is your fault," he said, referring to ASA. "She is your athlete in your country and you didn't deal with this before.

"To put it out in front of the world like that, I am very disappointed in them because I feel that it is unfair to her."

ASA still denies prior knowledge
The IAAF insisted that gender tests be conducted on Semenya after she won the 800 metre world championships in Berlin last month.

Since then, accusations have been flying around that ASA should have pre-empted that she would be tested; and more recently, there are claims that ASA did test her - but without her knowledge.

The team's doctor, Harold Adams, who has been uncontactable since the Berlin race, apparently recommended to ASA that Semenya not participate in Berlin.

Her coach, Wilfred Daniels, has resigned amidst the controversy, saying ASA duped her into going for gender tests.

But ASA is standing behind its boss Leonard Chuene, who is also on the board of the IAAF. He has maintained that ASA was in the dark about the IAAF's tests on Semenya.

"After I challenged them (IAAF) to give me proof that they had informed us about the tests, they argued that they had told Dr Adams. But I told them he was not a member of ASA. I have now asked for a thorough report detailing everything so that we can probe it," Chuene reportedly said recently.

But ASA's website clearly states that Adams is South Africa's team doctor, according to The Star newspaper.

Meanwhile, Johannesburg radio jock Phat Joe of Kaya FM has been suspended for commenting how Semenya could not have known she was not "a 100% woman", reported Beeld newspaper. – (Sapa, September 2009)

Read more:
Semenya: are genes to blame?
Semenya's sex: why the doubt?




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