Sep 10, 2009 3:31 PM GMT
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,26056981-401,00.htmlWORLD athletics is in crisis with tests showing champion runner Caster Semenya is a hermaphrodite - a person with both female and male sexual characteristics.
The tests, not yet publicly released, show the 18-year-old has no womb or ovaries.
The International Association of Athletics Federations is expected to disqualify the South African from future events and advise her to have surgery because her condition carries grave health risks, The Daily Telegraph reports.
And she could be stripped of the gold medal she won in Berlin in last month.
Semenya has three times more testosterone than a normal female.
A source closely involved with the IAAF tests said Semenya had internal testes - the male sexual organs which produce testosterone.
Testosterone is a male hormone with a primary task of building muscle bulk. It also produces body hair and a deep voice.
It is believed Semenya is unaware the tests identify her as an hermaphrodite.
Only the certainty of a savage backlash from South Africa has so far prevented the IAAF from banning Semenya and revoking her gold medal.
South Africa embraced the feisty teenager after the storm of controversy from Berlin, declaring her "Our girl".
African National Congress MP and National Assembly sports committee chairman Butana Komphela has already lodged a complaint with the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, accusing the IAAF of racism and sexism.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source explained the political and personal sensitivities involved.
"There certainly is evidence Semenya is a hermaphrodite. But the trouble is the IAAF now have the whole ANC and the whole of South Africa on their backs. Everything is going to have to be done absolutely by the book, no question of a challenge to the findings.
"There's all sorts of scans you do. This is why it's complicated. In the past you used to do a gynaecological exam, blood test, chromosome test, whatever. That's why they (the findings) were challenged, because it's not quite so simple.
"So what they do now is they do everything, and then they can say, look - not only has she got this, she's got that and the other.
"The problem for us is to avoid it being an issue now which is very personal - of the organs being a hermaphrodite, of not being a 'real' woman. It's very dramatic."
The IAAF expects to receive the full set of results this week.
When quizzed last week by magazine You, Semenya said: "I see it all as a joke, it doesn't upset me. God made me the way I am and I accept myself. I am who I am and I'm proud of myself. I don't want to talk about the tests. I'm not even thinking about them."
While the IAAF is treating the Semenya case as a health matter, the same South African politicians who denied AIDS was a problem in their country are standing behind their queen of the athletics.
"Of course Caster is a totally innocent victim in this whole affair," the source explained.
"What could she do about it? And the IAAF accepted her entry. So the two parties at fault are the IAAF and especially Athletics SA."
I feel bad for her.