Semenya hermaphrodite reports criticised

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The Independent Online

South Africa's athletics boss Leonard Chuene has blasted Australian media reports alleging that world 800 metres champion Caster Semenya is a hermaphrodite.

The 18-year-old made global headlines last month when questions were raised over her gender after she won gold in the two-lap race at the World Championships in Berlin - crossing the line in a personal best time, which was over two seconds clear of defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei.

The IAAF commissioned a gender test on the teenager after her performance levels improved remarkably in the build-up to the competition.

Now the Sydney Daily Telegraph is claiming the tests have shown that Semenya has both male and female sexual characteristics, claims which have been rejected by the Athletics South Africa (ASA) president.

"The IAAF has issued a statement that said the case will come before the executive council in November where it will be decided," Chuene said.

"They told us this week that the tests are inconclusive and they could not give us the results just yet.

"So I really do not know where the Australia media got this latest one from."

The IAAF has responded by urging caution over the reports.

A statement released to Press Association Sport, read: "The IAAF can state that statements in the Australian press should be treated with caution as they are not official statements by the IAAF.

"We have received the results from Germany, but they now need to be examined by a group of experts and we will not be in a position to speak to the athlete about them for at least a few weeks.

"After that, depending on the results, we will meet privately with the athlete to discuss further action."

Chuene also rubbished local media claims earlier this week alleging that ASA was refusing to co-operate with the IAAF's request to be put in contact with Semenya ahead of the announcement of the controversial gender tests.

"That is absolute nonsense because we have been communicating with the IAAF all week," he added in the Business Day.

Speaking to The Star, Chuene also pointed out that the reports from Australia were likely to have a psychological effect on Semenya.

He said: "These are insulting words that the media are using, but we are in the dark.

"We just don't know what effect this information will have on her deep down. This process is not correct."

It has already been revealed Semenya has levels of testosterone in her body three times higher than normal for women.