Athletics South Africa (ASA) general manager Molatelo Malehopo on Thursday again denied any knowledge of gender verification tests conducted on Caster Semenya in Pretoria last month. This is despite three sources within ASA alleging his involvement.
All three sources claimed that Malehopo authorised the tests and that ASA president Leonard Chuene was informed by team doctor Harold Adams to withdraw Semenya from the World Championships in Berlin, where she won gold in the women's 800m.
Ahead of the global showpiece, after ASA received the results of the tests, an ASA Board member counselled Semenya concerning the amount of testosterone discovered in her body, but when Adams - who showed real concern for the athlete who faced possible humiliation if the tests became public knowledge - advised that they withdraw the athlete, Semenya was not even consulted. Chuene simply refused to send her home, the sources claimed.
Talking to the media
A further claim was that Malehopo, Chuene and sports and recreation portfolio committee chairman Butana Komphela met with Semenya on Wednesday night to coach her on what to tell the media when she eventually holds a press conference.
On Thursday, hours after he said for the second time he had no knowledge of tests conducted in Pretoria on August 7, Malehopo said he had been told by ASA not to talk to the media and refused to comment. "I'm not going to waste my evening talking about these things," he said.
"I have a responsibility to the federation and they have told us not to comment on these matters. People can talk about whatever rumours they choose, I'm unfazed."
The ASA insisted it had Semenya's best interests at heart. It would put together its own commission of enquiry to investigate the matter. "This will allow the ASA to focus its attention where it can make a difference to Caster's future.
"As the administrator of athletics in South Africa, the ASA has and continues to operate in the best interests of South Africa and the athletes it represents," the sports body said in a statement. – (Sapa, September 2009)
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