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Semenya told to take gender test


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New world 800m champion Caster Semenya has been asked to take a gender test, according to athletics' governing body.

The International Association of Athletics Federations says it demanded the test three weeks ago amid fears she should not be able to run as a woman.

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said the "extremely complex, difficult" test results were not due for several weeks.

The South African athletics federation insists it is "completely sure" that Semenya, 18, is a female.

"We would not have entered her in the female competition if we had any doubts," said a statement.

Semenya won gold in impressive fashion on Wednesday, leaving her rivals trailing as she won in a time of one minute, 55.45 seconds.

Defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei was second, a massive 2.45 seconds adrift, with Britain's Jenny Meadows taking bronze.

Semenya did not attend a post-race news conference following her success, but IAAF secretary general Pierre Weiss did appear before the media.

"We know you want to talk to her, but she is young, she is inexperienced and she is not able to reply properly to all your questions," he said.

"I will answer for her. The decision not to put her up was taken by the IAAF and the South African federation.

"I repeat, she was not prepared for a situation like this."

Weiss insisted the IAAF had handled the situation as best as it could and defended the timing of the announcement to test Semenya.

"She was unknown three weeks ago," he said. "No one could have anticipated this. We are fast but we are not a lion."

He added: "If it is proved that she is not a female, she will be withdrawn and the medals revised. At the moment, the athlete must be given the benefit of the doubt."

Semenya burst on to the world stage when she ran 1.56.72 in Bambous last month, smashing her previous personal best by more than seven seconds.

She also broke Zola Budd's long-standing South African record and arrived here as the newly-crowned African junior champion.

"In the case of this athlete, following her breakthrough in the African junior championships, the rumours, the gossip was starting to build up," said Davies.

"The gender verification test is an extremely complex procedure. The situation today is that we do not have any conclusive evidence that she should not be allowed to run."

A group of doctors, including an endocrinologist, a gynaecologist, an internal medicine expert, an expert on gender and a psychologist, have started the testing procedure but it is uncertain when the results will be known.

Weiss said testing was being done in Berlin and South Africa but admitted it was a complex issue.

"At this stage, it's confusing," he said. "Personally I have no clue what's going on. I rely on and trust our doctors. We would have preferred not to have had a controversy."

After the race, Meadows said: "It's up to the IAAF to sort it out. You can't do anything about who is out there.

"There's just eight people on the track and you just have to make sure you're in the first three to get a medal."

BBC

What are your thoughts on this? I don't really follow track, so I'm not sure what a 2.45 second lead means other than that's a huge gap. It looks similar to the '97 Wilson Kipketer 800m, although that's a world record race.

1) Do you think they have a right to perform a gender test?

2) If the results do come out that she's either a transsexual, that she has Swyer syndrome, or something similar, do you think she should still be counted? Would that be fair to the other women?

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That is so sad yet so funny at the same time. Then to think about what Mr Bergis would say about this :D

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"She" does look like a man...

There are a lot of masculine women out there.... LOOKING like a man doesn't MAKE you one.

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If they want to spend the money to do it, then so be it. If she's got nothing to hide (no pun intended), then she should comply.

It would be interesting if she is really male and transgender. She has a vagina but is genetically supposed to be a male.

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There are a lot of masculine women out there.... LOOKING like a man doesn't MAKE you one.

As George Costanza would say "It doesn't help"

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Don't you wonder why the normal test was deemed inconclusive?

A lot of women produces testosterone, some of them in particulary high levels.

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A lot of women produces testosterone, some of them in particulary high levels.

The normal test would be the visual confirmation.

Just makes me wonder why pulling her pants down did not result in immediate confirmation.

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IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said the "extremely complex, difficult" test results were not due for several weeks.

I know I'm not the brightest star in the sky, but is it really that hard to tell if a person is a woman or not?

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I know I'm not the brightest star in the sky, but is it really that hard to tell if a person is a woman or not?

There are people that are born with both genitalia at birth. Parents and doctors can decide what to do with the child and make them one sex or another. She could be female in appearance but have the genetic aspects of a man. Chromosomal tests would need to be conducted to see if she's XX or XY.

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What would you consider female though? Looks like a woman? Has a vagina? Has a functioning female reproductive system? Has XX chromosome?

The reproductive role of the organism. If it has eggs and is unable to fertilize those eggs by itself then it is a female. Why do people act like gender is something mysterious? The definition is very clear: "being the sex (of plant or animal) that produces fertilizable gametes (ova) from which offspring develop".

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The reproductive role of the organism. If it has eggs and is unable to fertilize those eggs by itself then it is a female. Why do people act like gender is something mysterious? The definition is very clear: "being the sex (of plant or animal) that produces fertilizable gametes (ova) from which offspring develop".

So transsexuals basically get the boot when it comes to sports?

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A "genetically proven woman" with a muscular body of a man would be unfair for any other women.

I mean, why we separate women and men in sports? Because the men are generally stronger and more athletic at the base.

If we start to accept women with a body that have more characteristic like a men, why we don't just put all sports unisex then?

I don't know what is the limits of fairness in this, I'm not a sport regulator, but in theory, I don't see why we would permit women with man body to participate in women classes.

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A "genetically proven woman" with a muscular body of a man would be unfair for any other women.

I mean, why we separate women and men in sports? Because the men are generally stronger and more athletic at the base.

If we start to accept women with a body that have more characteristic like a men, why we don't just put all sports unisex then?

I don't know what is the limits of fairness in this, I'm not a sport regulator, but in theory, I don't see why we would permit women with man body to participate in women classes.

Aha! An answer I like.

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What would you consider female though? Looks like a woman? Has a vagina? Has a functioning female reproductive system? Has XX chromosome?

The absence or presence of a Y chromosome is usually the defining test. You can not alter your genetic make-up, no matter how you alter your outward appearance.

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