Semenya saga: management

‘Semenya wasn’t consulted’
2009-09-08 22:23Email | Print

Caster Semenya (AP)
Wilhelm de Swardt

Johannesburg – World 800m champion Caster Semenya and Athletics South Africa (ASA) appear to be on a collision course about who should represent her.

It has been reliably learned that Finnish agent Jukka Hárkónen, who also looks after Khotso Mokoena, wants to represent Semenya. She is apparently keen, but ASA are opposed to the idea.

ASA chief executive Molatelo Malehopo said that it would not be in Semenya’s interest for her to be represented by “unscrupulous agents that will exploit her”.

It has been decided that Phiwe Mlangeni-Tsholetsane, who acted as team manager at the world championship in Berlin, should act as Semenya’s agent until she is “mature enough to make her own decisions”.

“Hárkónen will only confuse Caster because he also insists on being involved with her training. That can lead to a clash of interests between him and Michael Seme, who is Caster’s coach,” said Malehopo.

However, it has also been learned that ASA are acting unilaterally and did not consult Semenya on the issue. She is apparently not as naive and childlike as ASA make her out to be. She is a strong young woman who likes to make her own decisions.

Mokoena’s South African agent, Johan van Greune, believes it will be a big mistake for ASA to act as agent for Semenya.

“It is a clash of interests,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pieter du Toit reports from Cape Town that Vytjie Mentor, fiery ANC MP, has submitted two legislative proposals to amend the law on gender equality and the human rights commission.

This follows the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) “abuse” of Semenya, Mentor said in a statement.

She has requested ASA to claim compensation on behalf of Semenya for the “humiliation” suffered at the hands of the IAAF.

She said the resignation of ASA coach Wilfred Daniels, who “apologised for the debacle”, was further proof that legislative amendments were required.

“I’m grateful to Daniels for being honest.”

South Africa: Athletics Boss Hits Back At Coach Daniels
Mninawa Ntloko
8 September 2009

Johannesburg — FIERY Athletics SA president Leonard Chuene yesterday fired back at former national athletics coach Wilfred Daniels – who resigned following the controversy surrounding Caster Semenya’s gender debacle – and said his decision to quit was nothing but an attempt to hog the limelight from the gold medal- winning teenager.

Daniels told Business Day yesterday he elected to quit after Athletics SA’s failure to protect Semenya from the baying international media following a revelation at the world championships in Berlin last month that gender tests were carried out on the teenager amid fears she should not be allowed to run as a woman.

But Chuene said Daniels was no martyr and was “pushing an agenda”.

“He must not turn himself into some kind of hero and take the limelight from the poor girl,” the forthright Chuene said.

"I asked him to tell me what it is exactly that we were suppose to do that we did not do. He could not come up with a straight answer because he knows this is an allegation that is not tangible. When you are running somebody else’s agenda, you cannot answer that question.

“He says we did not do enough to protect Caster. But he was the coach, so why did he not do it if he is the one who was with the athletes all the time? Go to Jamaica and Usain Bolt is the hero and not the coach. But in SA, we have a coach jumping from one media platform to the next, trying to steal the limelight from the athletes.”

Daniels said many of the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) protocols were not followed in Berlin and Semenya was left at the mercy of the baying pack after the organisation leaked the documents in Berlin.

"The IAAF has got protocols that deal with the rights of the athlete’s privacy and confidentiality. That was not the case here and it left a bitter taste in the mouth.

“She is an 18-year-old from Limpopo and she had to deal with all the innuendo. And it happened without any of us protecting her.”

Despite the furore, Semenya cantered to the World Championship gold, winning in one minute and 55,45 seconds – the best time in the world in the women’s 800m this year – to beat defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya.

Chuene said he was astounded by the timing of Daniels’s resignation and his decision to suddenly speak out. “Why did he not leave Germany if he felt so strongly about all this? The answer is simple, he was comfortable in Germany and had no problem.” Chuene said it is out of question to suggest that perhaps Semenya should have been withdrawn from the championships after news of the gender test was leaked.

"I would have had a problem with anyone suggesting that she should not run. What would have been the basis?

"The IAAF itself did not prevent her from running because they knew that they did not have anything to hold against her. Why did they not stop her if their case was so strong?

“People should ask for the minutes of the last meeting where I resigned and it will speak volumes.”

Chuene said the IAAF was yet to communicate the outcome of the gender test on Semenya and they were still waiting for the results.

"Protocol demands that the first people to be contacted should be Athletics SA. The ball is in their court really and we are not worried.

"The South African government wrote a letter (to the IAAF) taking strong exception at their handling of the whole gender testing issue around Caster. They were also told to apologise to the nation and to the Semenya family. They have not responded and that shows the problem is not with us.

“We have a world champion in SA and it is not our problem to worry about the IAAF and their investigations,” said Chuene.

There was a “far greater conspiracy” against Semenya in Berlin and attempts were made to remove the teenager from the 800m during the heats of the world championships.

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"I was not born to be a diplomat and I will say exactly what happened.

“A senior official (IAAF council member Abby Hoffman of Canada) told me that Kenya came to protest to her about Caster after the trip (with Jepkosgei) in the heats. How could the victim be victimised?”

Olympic silver medallist Jepkosgei and Semenya tripped in the heats and the Kenyan finished last in the race. Many thought the competition favourite had blown her chance but the Kenyan was later reinstated after her compatriots petitioned the competition’s judging panel.

Chuene insisted that the trip was no accident and may have been intended to hinder Semenya after she emerged as a hot contender for gold.

He must not turn himself into some kind of hero and take the limelight from the poor girl (Semenya)

WORD IS THE SHIT IS ABOUT TO HIT THE TURBINE ON THE SEMENYA SEX TEST RESULTS IN A MAJOR WAY. Spell hermaphrodite and blame Aths South Africa for sending her to win gold in Berlin even though they knew full well s/he should never have been exposed to the public scrutiny. She appears to be a total innocent, poor thing. But now she has to carry the can for the thugs who run Aths SA. Well done to the ANC and their puppets.

Hoping you are wrong KK. Semenya does not deserve what has happened and will happen if the word is right.

It has been reported that the results of a controversial gender test on the South African athlete Caster Semenya have been received by international athletics officials but will only be made public after they have been analysed by experts and Semenya has been informed.

A spokesman for the International Association of Athletics Federations was reported to have said that its urgent efforts to contact Semenya, the women’s 800 metres world champion, were being thwarted by South African athletics authorities.

Adding to the confusion, Athletics South Africa has denied the claim, insisting that it has not yet heard from the IAAF.

Semenya’s victory at last month’s World Championships in Berlin was overshadowed by speculation over her masculine appearance, deep voice and radically improved performance. The IAAF’s order of a gender test caused fierce protests in South Africa and complaints that it infringed her human rights.

A South African website,, reported Nick Davies, a spokesman for the IAAF in Lausanne, Switzerland, as saying: “We can’t afford any mistakes, particularly as we already face threats to be taken to the United Nations Human Rights Council and because it has become a political matter in South Africa.”

Davies was reported as adding that the IAAF’s attempts to inform Semenya were being blocked by ASA: "ASA’s actions can have serious consequences for Semenya if we are not able to speak to her soon. In short, it will come down to her refusing to co-operate.

“Had it been a drugs issue, she would have been suspended a long time ago, but this is a unique problem for which the IAAF’s rules do not make provision. It is important for us to talk to her about the results of the tests.”

Sport24 also reported Davies as saying that the manner in which the ASA was handling the matter could become a huge problem over the next few weeks. Davies was reported to have said that the ASA president, Leonard Chuene, had spread so many untruths about the IAAF’s conduct that it would be a major embarrassment for him when the facts are revealed.

“Chuene may have no other option than resigning as president of ASA,” Davies was reported to have said.

Cheune said the claims came as a total surprise and that the ASA had not received any calls. “They’ve been very quiet,” he said of the IAAF.

The IAAF could not be reached to confirm their spokesman’s reported remarks.

I think Jelimo might be just as much man as Semenya is. Maybe that’s why she’s off the radar now…to avoid all this crap.

Tests show world champion runner Caster Semenya is a hermaphrodite

* By Mike Hurst
* From: The Daily Telegraph
* September 11, 2009 12:01AM

* Tests show Caster Semenya is a hermaphrodite
* Has both male and female sex organs
* Expected to be disqualified from running
* Pictures: Caster Semenya in action

WORLD 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. (EDIT: although only on Tuesday, 8th: )

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.”

Do the testes really supply testosterone? Gee that would leave Lance Armstrong with a major disadvantage:confused:

Yes and prostate cancer feeds off testoeterone, I feel for the kid

I wonder if there’s a precedent for this if IAAF tries to rescind the medal and ASA fights it to a court of arbitration. Apparently a downhill skier lost a gold medal in a similar case. It isn’t discussed here, but this is who it was:

There’s a really good technical explanation at

Not necessarily:

Metabolic clues regarding the enhanced performance of elite endurance athletes from orchiectomy-induced hormonal changes
Medical Hypotheses, Volume 68, Issue 4, Pages 735-749
C. Atwood, R. Bowen

This article examines the metabolic performance of an elite cyclist, Lance Armstrong, before and after his diagnosis with testicular cancer. Although a champion cyclist in 1-day events prior to his diagnosis of testicular cancer at age 25, he was not a contender in multi-day endurance cycle races such as the 3-week Tour de France. His genetic makeup and physiology (high V˙O2max, long femur, strong heavy build) coupled with his ambition and motivation enabled him at an early age to become one of the best 1-day cyclists in the world. Following his cancer diagnosis, he underwent a unilateral orchiectomy, brain surgery and four cycles of chemotherapy. After recovering, he returned to cycling and surprisingly excelled in the Tour de France, winning this hardest of endurance events 7years running. This dramatic transformation from a 1-day to a 3-week endurance champion has led many to query how this is possible, and under the current climate, has led to suggestions of doping as to the answer to this metamorphosis. Physiological tests following his recovery indicated that physiological parameters such as V˙O2max were not affected by the unilateral orchiectomy and chemotherapy. We propose that his dramatic improvement in recovery between stages, the most important factor in winning multi-day stage races, is due to his unilateral orchiectomy, a procedure that results in permanent changes in serum hormones. These hormonal changes, specifically an increase in gonadotropins (and prolactin) required to maintain serum testosterone levels, alter fuel metabolism; increasing hormone sensitive lipase expression and activity, promoting increased free fatty acid (FFA) mobilization to, and utilization by, muscles, thereby decreasing the requirement to expend limiting glycogen stores before, during and after exercise. Such hormonal changes also have been associated with ketone body production, improvements in muscle repair and haematocrit levels and may facilitate the loss of body weight, thereby increasing power to weight ratio. Taken together, these hormonal changes act to limit glycogen utilization, delay fatigue and enhance recovery thereby allowing for optimal performances on a day-to-day basis. These insights provide the foundation for future studies on the endocrinology of exercise metabolism, and suggest that Lance Armstrong’s athletic advantage was not due to drug use.

The “study” is not even a study and basically worthless. So many things factually wrong, not even worth getting into in detail.

‘World war’ threat over Semenya gender claims
Last updated 08:51 12/09/2009

South Africa has reacted angrily to a report that tests on its world champion runner Caster Semenya had found she was a hermaphrodite, threatening a “third world war” over the affair.

Athletics’ governing body declined to confirm the report in Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, which said the 18-year-old runner had both male and female sexual characteristics.

The IAAF said medical experts were examining the results of gender tests on Semenya, who won the women’s 800 meters at last month’s World Championships in Berlin. No decision would be taken until late November.

“I think it would be the third world war. We will go to the highest levels in contesting such a decision. I think it would be totally unfair and totally unjust,” said Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile.

South African President Jacob Zuma decried the invasion of Semenya’s privacy and what he called the violation of her rights, although neither he nor Stofile denied the report.

“I don’t know why we should not respect the privilege between the doctor and the patient. Why, when the tests have been done, why was it published?” Zuma said.

The Telegraph report said tests had found Semenya had no womb or ovaries, but that she had internal testes, the male sexual organs which produce testosterone, and her levels of the hormone were three times that of a ‘normal’ female.

It said the IAAF was “ready to disqualify Semenya from future events and advise her to have immediate surgery because her condition carries grave health risks. They have also not ruled out stripping Semenya of her 800m world championships gold medal.”


Semenya, who was due to compete in a cross country race in Pretoria on Saturday, in her first competition since claiming the world title, withdrew from the event. Semenya’s coach Michael Seme said that she was not “feeling well.”

Stofile told a news conference his ministry had “noted with shock and disgust” media reports on the test results, which the South African government had not yet received.

“The issue here is that this girl has undesirable levels of testosterone - what does it matter? That is neither here not there. She does not have a womb - so what?,” he said.

Nick Davies, spokesman for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), said media reports on the gender test results should not be considered as official statements by the sports body.

“There is a (IAAF) Council on 21 November and this will be the opportunity to conclusively finalize a decision,” he said.

Some South Africans have accused the IAAF of racism for ordering the gender tests on Semenya, saying her broad shoulders and imposing musculature are common in women’s athletics.

The controversy may have touched a raw nerve in a country where race is still a highly sensitive issue after decades of apartheid, which ended in 1994.

The militant Youth League of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) said in a statement: “Even if a test is done, the ANC YL will never accept the categorization of Caster Semenya as a hermaphrodite, because in South Africa and the entire world of sanity, such does not exist.”

Mike Hurst is a credible journo and I hope his sources are 100% correct as I would hate to see this to backfire on him.

Semenya likely to keep medal but her race is run

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Dan Silkstone
September 12, 2009

WORLD champion 800 metres runner Caster Semenya is likely to emerge from her controversial past month with a gold medal but no prizemoney and no future in the sport.

A day after the results of stringent and wide-ranging tests confirmed that Semenya has both male and female reproductive organs, the IAAF was yesterday scrambling to decide what will happen to the 18-year-old South African, who has received a hero’s welcome after returning to her homeland.

While a final decision is believed to be at least a fortnight away, The Age understands that Semenya will almost certainly keep her gold medal as the IAAF follows a 45-year-old precedent. The Polish women’s 4 x 400 relay team won Olympic Gold in 1964 but one member was later revealed to be a man. That team was allowed to keep its medals and Semenya is set to follow suit.

The runner is unlikely to ever receive the $US60,000 ($A69,700) prizemoney for her commanding win in Berlin, however. Sources told The Age yesterday that it is more likely that money will be donated to a relevant charity, such as research into transgender issues or a maternity hospital in rural South Africa. International athletics officials are believed to be privately furious with their South African counterparts that Semenya was allowed to compete in Berlin, despite the very public questions hanging over her future and her identity.

Officials strongly urged the South African team to withdraw their emerging star before the 800 final in Berlin but the South Africans pressed ahead, Semenya won easily and an international furore erupted. South African President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress later attacked the IAAF for victimising Semenya and vowed to support her. South African athletics bosses have continued to back their athlete in recent days, even requesting that the IAAF give Semenya a wildcard to compete in the world athletics final that begins tomorrow in Thessaloniki, Greece - the second biggest meeting in the sport this year.

That request was rejected outright and Semenya’s career is effectively over. Unable to compete as a woman, the teenager could technically take part in the sport as a man. But Semenya’s performance in Berlin - dominant as it was - came with a time that is around 10 seconds slower than the top men in her event.

There is immense sympathy for Semenya’s position within the governing body and a likelihood that she will be urged to consider surgical treatment for her condition, as IAAF medical experts believe there are multiple health risks associated with it. There is no suggestion that the South African deliberately obscured her complex gender identity, nor that she had any knowledge of it.

So rapid was Semenya’s emergence to the top level, the IAAF only became aware of her questionable appearance in the immediate lead-up to the world championships. Tests were organised and results obtained just before she competed in the final at Berlin were conflicting and contradictory.

Semenya herself did not even know the tests related to her gender, believing they were standard drug tests. The South African coach who misled her about that process has since resigned.

The more stringent tests ordered after her win in Berlin showed what the IAAF had suspected - Semenya had external female genitalia but internal testes instead of ovaries. Her testosterone levels were equivalent to those of a male competitor, granting her a massive advantage over her fellow competitors.

The SA federations attitude reminds me of that scene from the life of Brian where Stan wants to have babies.

Are the comments regarding the racism to do with the prevalence of intersexuality in South Africa? Because I’m not sure if they noticed but most of the medals in track events were won by people with black skin and on the womens side people with relatively muscular physiques - however with out any facial hair …

It’s all a bit mad …

An associated report in the paper which broke the Semenya “intersex” news reveals that a poll on whether she should be allowed to keep her medal attracted 6000 voters yesterday, about 53% in favour of her keeping the gold.

It is interesting that not even the South Africans are denying the report, with one politican (Zuma?) saying “she has no womb, so what” - so what? well I’d say that moves her pretty solidly into the category of “Male” and therefore she should never have been entered for a women’s race.

From The Times
September 12, 2009

South African minister threatens ‘world war’ if Caster Semenya is banned
Rick Broadbent and Fred Bridgland in Pretoria
(John Giles/PA)
Caster Semenya: now in hiding

The South African Sports Minister threatened a “third world war” if Caster Semenya, the athlete whose gender has been called into question, were banned from competing.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday Makhenkesi Stofile responded angrily to reports in which a source close to the inquiry into the athlete claimed that tests had suggested she was a hermaphrodite. Asked how South Africa would react were the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to say that Semenya could no longer compete against women, he said: “I think it will be the third world war.

“We will go to the highest levels in contesting such a decision. It would be totally unfair and totally unjust. It is very, very clear to us that Caster’s human rights are not being respected. Neither Caster nor her family deserve this kind of humiliation. None of them has done anything wrong. This is as disgusting as it is unethical.”

Saying that the South African Government had not seen the test results, he added: “What does it matter? The issue is not whether she’s a hermaphrodite. She’s a girl.

“Caster remains our heroine, and we strongly believe that our Government and all well-meaning citizens should protect Ms Semenya, her rights and her interests.”

Mr Stofile accused the IAAF of leaking results of tests on Semenya while pleading ignorance of where the reports originated.

The IAAF has confirmed that it has received Semenya’s test results, but they will be studied by an independent panel before action is taken. It said the matter would go before its executive council on November 20.

However, Leonard Chuene, president of Athletics South Africa, claimed that the IAAF had told him that the tests were inconclusive.

The story that a gender verification process was under way first appeared in the Australian Daily Telegraph. Mike Hurst, the journalist who broke the story, last night told South Africa’s Radio 702: “My sources are 100 per cent reliable. They \ haven’t denied my story. That’s crucial.”

Semenya won the 800 metres final at the World Championships in Berlin last month. The IAAF has indicated that she is unlikely to be asked to return her gold medal.

Last night the athlete dropped out of an event at today’s national cross-country championships in Pretoria.

audio link to interview with the journo who broke the Semenya intersex story. click on “audio”

Let’s all watch the attacks and stereotypes here please.
The question here- and the only question is: Should she be, or have been allowed to compete?
I don’t understand why the old chromosome test was removed. What was intended to replace it? Is this nightmare not the natural outcome of political correctness gone amok leaving only public warfare?
There was considerable discussion over last year’s winner that was never addressed. Did that have any bearing on this year’s case?What will be the trend going forward? Will federations go out on scavenger hunts looking for physical types that can win in a few months of training over girls who’ve trained a lifetime? What happens when this extends beyond the 800m alone?