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South Africa 'planned for tests on Semenya'

An email exchange published in a South African newspaper yesterday appears to show that local athletics officials had planned to give runner Caster Semenya a gender test before the world championships in Berlin.

South African officials have said tests were done on the 800 metres world champion abroad, not in South Africa. But in emails published by the weekly Mail & Guardian, the Athletics South Africa general manager, Molatelo Malehopo, apparently gives the team doctor Harold Adams permission to "go ahead" with "the necessary tests that the IAAF might need." The email is dated 5 August, 10 days before the championships began.

The ASA president, Leonard Chuene, was copied in on an email to Malehopo a day earlier in which Adams asks for advice on handling the "confidential matter." Either, Adams says, a gynecological opinion can be obtained and taken to Germany or "we do nothing and I will handle these issues if they come up in Berlin." Chuene was not copied in on Malehopo's response.

None of the three officials was available to comment.

The South African press has reported that Semenya was tested at the Medforum Mediclinic in Pretoria early last month. The hospital could not confirm or deny that she was there.

The ruling IAAF revealed before the 800m final on 19 August that it had ordered gender tests to be carried out on Semenya.

IAAF has since refused to confirm or deny Australian media reports that the tests show that Semenya has both male and female sex organs. It has said test results are being studied and a decision on whether she will be allowed to continue in women's events is expected in November.