Semenya saga: management

It’s either the doctor’s fault or the athlete’s, of course! Has he resigned yet?

Chuene ‘treated Caster as a pawn’
Athletics boss knew of questions about Semenya’s gender
Sep 20, 2009 12:10 AM | By WERNER SWART

Leonard Chuene is a liar who was willing to sacrifice a young woman’s future for a gold medal.

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Legal eagles to fight her case
No rush to condemn Chuene, says official
Let Caster speak to expose truth
‘They’ve made Caster a freak’
Chuene sorry for lying
‘It’s men and women of brains and integrity … as they’ve put me there, there is nothing wrong’

The Athletics South Africa (ASA) boss admitted this yesterday at a heated press conference in Pretoria, conceding that he was fully aware there were questions about 800m world champion Caster Semenya’s gender.

He also admitted that he knew gender tests were performed on her on August 7 in Pretoria - a week before Semenya ran at the Berlin championships - and that he was advised by team doctor Harold Adams to withdraw her from competing.

He claimed he was presented with two options:

Let Semenya fake an injury and withdraw from the race; or
Let Semenya run and “discuss” the matter after the race.
But until yesterday Chuene had deceived the nation by denying any knowledge of the tests or concerns over Semenya’s gender.

Despite this, Chuene has refused to resign. Asked why he should hold onto his position, he said: “I believe very strong (sic) a democratic structure does not need pressure from anybody. It’s men and women of brains and integrity, if they come to that level, as they’ve put me there, there is nothing wrong.”

That response characterised his bizarre performance at yesterday’s press conference.

At one point, as Chuene repeatedly deviated from a written statement, one of his public relations staffers slipped a written note to him asking him to “stick to the script”. But this failed to stop his incoherent rant.

Chuene admitted what has been known for some time - that he and ASA management knew there were questions about Semenya’s gender and that she was sent to the Medforum Medi-Clinic for tests before she left for Germany.

But he claimed he did this to protect Semenya’s privacy - a decision that had the opposite effect.

On Adams advising him to withdraw Semenya from competing on August 14, Chuene said the test results were not available at the time.

“It was on the basis of rumours … I was with Dr Adams and on the same basis of rumour I refused,” he said.

But Chuene also admitted he had initially agreed to withdraw Semenya, but then later changed his mind. “I did not see the results, but I heard (what the results were),” he said, but did not elaborate on what he was told.

Gideon Sam, the president of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), said yesterday that it would investigate the conflicting reports.

Chuene and ASA general manager Molatelo Malehopo met recently with Sam and Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy and lied to them.

“Caster Semenya’s wellbeing is the priority, but we have to ensure the integrity of those who administer member federations within Sascoc has not been undermined; alternatively, that the sport has not been done a disservice through the actions of its leadership,” Sam said.

He added that Sascoc’s position would be determined by the results of the investigation, and the organisation would be guided by their legal advisers.

An athlete told the Sunday Times that “questions were being asked about the gender issue in January already”.

“She was sacrificed for a medal, simple as that,” the athlete said.

E-mails in the possession of the Sunday Times show that Chuene was copied on correspondence between team doctor Adams and ASA general manager Malehopo.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) picked up on the speculation around Semenya on a South African blog on August 3, which stated that “Caster Semenya is an interesting revelation. Interesting because the 18-year-old was born as a hermaphrodite and, through a series of tests, has been classified as female.”

This was copied and sent from IAAF spokesman Nick Davies under the subject line “Just to be aware of!” to the top hierarchy in the IAAF, who in turn sent an e-mail to Adams asking that the matter investigated.

No kidding…

Is a medal worth a young woman’s sanity

By Mike Hurst
From: The Daily Telegraph
September 22, 2009 12:00AM

CASTER Semenya has started a bizarre daily ritual in which she relives the best and worst moment of her athletics career.

The sexually ambiguous South African teenager plays a recording of her run to victory in the women’s 800m at the world championships in Berlin, watches as she receives the gold medal.

Then she repeats the commentator’s words: “But is she a man or is she a woman? But is she a man or is she a woman?”

The confronting routine, reported by South Africa’s Weekend Argus, is believed to be part of therapy to help the 18-year-old cope with the fallout from her win.

So it has come to this.

A young person’s life is in disarray at best, danger at worst because the adults - most of them self-appointed - who presumed to guide her thought more of the glory which would be reflected on them than they did of the giant burden Semenya would be left to carry.

Athletics South Africa president Leonard Chuene and his equally ruthless retinue had devised a plan with their coaching consultant Ekkart Arbeit, the former East German doping expert and former Stasi spy, that their intersex superstar would win a gold medal in Berlin and the burden of proof that she was anything other than a “normal” female would be on the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Chuene denied Semenya was intersexual, denied gender verification tests had been conducted on her, denied (still to this day) the IAAF any access to Semenya and accused the IAAF of being “racist” and “sexist” towards her by questioning her gender.

The Daily Telegraph exposed his fraud when we revealed in a world exclusive on September 11 that Semenya was a hermaphrodite, or intersexual, with no womb or ovaries but internal testes which generated three times the testosterone of a “normal” female and are a major cancer risk.

Chuene’s bluff had been not only called, but broken down as a few honest men, such as former South African coach Wilfred Daniels, found the courage and further evidence to accuse the ASA chief of lying.

It was a charge Chuene confessed to at the weekend, although he still has yet to tell the whole truth.

Daniels told The Telegraph last night he did not know whether Semenya even now has been informed of the findings and possible health implications of the sex tests conducted on her on August 7 in Pretoria.

“Of course it’s important she knows,” Daniels said.

“That’s why it’s sad the IAAF (which has its own results of tests conducted in Berlin) can’t contact her. In the meanwhile there might be a medical condition she needs to know about.”

The IAAF results are being reviewed by a panel of experts and the executive council will make a decision about Semenya’s future in the sport at their next meeting on November 20-21.

But a sombre Daniels, the most knowledgeable person on athletics at ASA until he resigned early this month, believes she has no future in the sport.

“For all intents and purposes, no matter what the IAAF says on November 21, I don’t believe she can step on the track again as a woman,” he said yesterday.

“The other competitors in the race will withdraw.”

Daniels added: "The most amazing thing was that nobody at Athletics South Africa took the trouble to speak to Caster about this, to talk her through all the options and the consequences of competing and let her decide.

“But they needed the medal at all costs.”


Dr.: S. African Runner Has Birth Defect

Updated: Sunday, 13 Sep 2009, 4:48 PM CDT
Published : Sunday, 13 Sep 2009, 4:48 PM CDT

* By Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON - It’s the birth defect people don’t talk about. A baby is born not completely male or female. The old term was hermaphrodite, then intersex . Now it’s called “disorders of sexual development.” Sometimes the person with the problem doesn’t even know it and finds out in an all too public way.

That’s been the painful plight of a few female athletes through history. And apparently that’s the situation for South African track star Caster Semenya.

Two Australian newspapers reported Friday that gender tests show the world champion athlete has no ovaries or uterus and internal testes that produce large amounts of testosterone. The international sports federation that ordered the tests wouldn’t confirm the reports.

Experts say Semenya should be allowed to race as a woman and they cringe at how her case is exploding publicly in the news media. They worry about psychological scars . Two years ago, a star female track athlete who tested male attempted suicide.

[b]Unless she took some illicit substance, Semenya is a female with a birth defect, simple as that, said Dr. Myron Genel, a professor emeritus of pediatrics at Yale University. He was part of a special panel of experts convened by the International Association of Athletics Federations in 1990 that helped end much, but not all, genetic gender testing.

“It’s no different in a sense than a youngster who is born with a hole in the heart,” Genel said. “These are in fact birth defects in an area that a lot of people are uncomfortable with.”[/b]

Semenya is hardly alone. Estimates vary, but about 1 percent of people are born with abnormal sex organs, experts say. These people may have the physical characteristics of both genders or a chromosomal disorder or simply ambiguous features.

Sometimes a sexual development problem is all too obvious when a baby is born. Other times, the disorder in girls may not be noticed until puberty, when she doesn’t start her period. And still other times, especially with the androgen insensitivity syndrome experts think Semenya might have, it remains hidden until she tries to have a baby – or in the case of an athlete, until she’s given a genetic test.

Genetic testing of women over five Olympics found genetic gender issues in 27 out of 11,373 women tested, according to a 2000 Journal of the American Medical Association article. However, none were men deliberately posing as women, as competitors fear.

[b]Dr. Louis Elsas, chairman of biochemistry at the University of Miami and a member of the IAAF panel with Genel, said he had hoped the genetic gender testing issue was over after the 1996 Olympics, when most major sports abandoned regular testing. He recalled having to talk to a female athlete and reveal that she had XY chromosomes and that she’d be infertile. It’s something that shouldn’t splash onto television, newspapers and the Internet, he said.

“It’s a severe emotional trauma,” Elsas said.

The concern that women with XY chromosomes have a competitive advantage “is malarkey. We don’t segregate athletes by height,” said Genel, speaking from an international endocrinology conference in New York that has sessions on intersex issues.

Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson, past president of the American College of Medical Genetics and a member of the IAAF panel, agreed: “Any elite athlete … has a competitive advantage, or otherwise they wouldn’t be an elite athlete.”

Simpson, associate dean at Florida International University, said the issue should be simply whether men are masquerading as women. Semenya is clearly a woman, he said.[/b]

Nearly all the disorders are caused by genetic mutations, Simpson said. And they usually happen in the first eight weeks of pregnancy, he said.

There are many types of sexual development disorders, all of them rare, but they add up, the experts said. Depending on the particular disorder and individual condition, treatment could involve surgery or hormone therapy or both. The issue is often not just what sex to assign the child, but when to assign it. It used to be that doctors pushed surgery on babies; now many times they wait. Sometimes they wait until the patient is old enough to help make a decision.

David Sandberg, a pediatric psychologist at Michigan, said he advises families to go slowly when deciding whether to raise their child as a boy or girl or whether to have surgery. Treatment varies depending on the disorder, but has become more conservative over the years, he said.

But that’s when the problem is noticeable. When it comes to some athletes like Semenya, it’s not even known until tests reveal it.

Maria Martinez-Patino knows the issue firsthand. A world-class athlete, she was raised and looked like a normal female and even received the needed “certificate of feminity” to participate in the 1983 World Track and Field Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

In 1985 at the World University Games in Kobe, Japan, her test came back with an XY and she was not allowed to compete. Martinez-Patino

had androgen insensitivity, meaning she didn’t respond to testosterone. That meant she also didn’t have a competitive advantage from having an XY chromosome.

“I sat in the stands that day watching my teammates, wondering how my body differed from theirs,” she wrote in the medical journal The Lancet in 2005. “I spent the rest of that week in my room, feeling a sadness that I could not share.”

What they appear to be suggesting, John, is that athletes such as Semenya should be racing in women’s competitions since she is “clearly a woman”.

If that is so, then we need henceforth never again bother with any issues of eligibility.

That then will be the end of competitions exclusively for women.

There will only be “open” competition.

Which men will of course entirely dominate.

It really is a simple solution which is the logical extension of the arguments presented in the article posted above.

yes and given their history with IAAF it will be interesting to see what is announced in November.

If she is XY she is genetically a male with a birth defect (e.g. androgen insensitivity) that prevented her from fully developing male reproductive organs.

Exactly right and it will remain so till some IAAF darling like Sanya Richards gets her ass kicked by a teenaged equivalent who trains for 9 months and runs 46.0. As long as one African disadavantages other Africans, it’s only about poor Semenya.

ANC Youth League renews Nedbank threat

Nedbank must retain its sponsorship of Athletics SA or face the wrath of patriotic South Africans, the ANC Youth League said on Saturday.

“ANCYL calls on Nedbank to retain its sponsorship of Athletics South Africa (ASA) or face the might of patriotic South Africans,” league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said in a statement.

"The ANCYL will mobilise all patriotic South Africans, corporations, institutions and government departments that bank with Nedbank to withdraw their accounts from the bank and switch to other banks if the sponsorship is not retained.

“We place it on record that this is not a threat, but a promise,” said Shivambu.

Shivambu said the proposed action was intended to ensure banks and corporations understood their “responsibility” to invest in the development of athletics in the country.

“The ANCYL is however willing to engage with the leadership of Nedbank to establish a common understanding on how funding of sports, particularly athletics development in South Africa should not be undermined because of slight mishaps.”

He suggested that Nedbank could have withdrawn their sponsorship of ASA “premised on what they call negative publicity of ASA”.

It was “apparent” that Nedbank’s withdrawal of sponsorship to the ASA was aimed at “undermining” the sports organisation and “roll[ing] back” the development of athletics in the country, said Shivambu.

His comments reiterated those of ANCYL leader Julius Malema, who threatened to “mobilise society” against Nedbank on Thursday.

“Let them withdraw. We’ll engage them and we’ll expose them for who they are. We’ll tell them the truth of why they are withdrawing, and we’ll mobilise the South African society to know what Nedbank is,” Malema told reporters in Johannesburg.

"That’s what defines our struggle today – of people who are refusing to accept the transformation, to accept African leadership, to accept new development.

Malema criticised Deputy Sport Minister Gert Oosthuizen for calling for ASA head Leonard Chuene’s dismissal. Chuene admitted to lying to the South African public about not having any knowledge of gender tests conducted on 800m world champion Caster Semenya in Pretoria last month.

Nedbank pulled its sponsorship of the annual Matha Series races, the backbone of road running in the country.

“Nedbank’s dissatisfaction with the quality of delivery by ASA of some events in the City Marathon and Matha Series over the past years is well known and the negotiations to end the contract had commenced well before the start of the current controversy surrounding ASA,” the bank said in a statement. - Sapa

Mokganyetsi denies ASA disruption
October 03 2009 at 04:20PM

Athletics South Africa (ASA) board member Hendrick Mokganyetsi denied on Saturday that the federation had purposely disrupted an athletes’ meeting in Pretoria after he led a walkout.

Former sprinter Geraldine Pillay, who organised the meeting to discuss the poor state of the sport in the country, said she suspected ASA of purposely causing disruption after a group of “drunk” individuals forced them to call off the meeting.

“We could not resolve anything because the meeting was disrupted by a group of individuals who arrived drunk,” said Pillay, a double Commonwealth Games bronze medallist.

"But we had enough response from the athletes to know that we should take this forward. We will definitely do this again.

‘I have been told that ASA mobilised these people to disrupt the meeting’
"Unfortunately certain individuals don’t seem to care enough about the sport and misinterpreted what the meeting was about.

“I have been told that ASA mobilised these people to disrupt the meeting.”

But Mokganyetsi said he had led the walkout because Pillay had not stuck to the agenda. He also denied that anyone in attendance had been drinking alcohol.

“Nobody caused a disruption,” said Mokganyetsi, joint South African record holder in the men’s 400 metres.

"There were questions posed and there were no answers. Nobody was drunk. Can she (Pillay) prove that?

‘Nobody was drunk’
"I’m very disappointed about the way this was handled. We expected them to deal with the issues we were ivited there to discuss.

"Yesterday on the radio, and on TV, she invited athletes to attend the meeting to discuss Leonard Chuene and the Caster Semenya situation, but none of that was on the agenda.

“All they discussed was the ANC constitution and the ASA consititution. We spent two hours there and there seemed to be no purpose, so we left.”

But Pillay said the meeting had not been held to discuss ASA president Chuene or his handling of the gender controversy surrounding world 800m champion Semenya.

“This meeting was not about whether Leonard should stay or go, and it wasn’t about Caster,” Pillay said.

"This was supposed to be an open platform for athletes to voice their concerns about what is happening in the sport.

"Nedbank said it withdrew its sponsorship of road running this week because of mismanagement at events organised by ASA, and we can’t afford that.

“We are going to appoint an athletes’ commission in the interim to give us a voice, but we will definitely hold this meeting again soon.”

Mokganyetsi, however, said he would not attend another meeting organised by Pillay.

The former sprinter, who is the head of the ASA athletes’ commission -w hich also consists of Arnaud Malherbe, Ruben Ramolefi, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Tebogo Masehla - said the commission would meet soon to discuss Chuene’s handling of the Semenya debacle. - Sapa

[b]I received a phone text from someone (in attendance) during this meeting in Pretoria. According to this athlete, Mokganyetsi’s “mob” crashed the meeting, initially accusing those present of being “racists but then when they realised that almost everyone in the room was black, they switched their attack to say the meeting was unconstitutional” after which the “constitution was read out and that point was over ruled”.

“Then after all athletes raised their concerns, there came a lot of non athletes into the meeting, then they disrupted just when we wanted to come to conclusions. They stood up shouting, screaming and dancing … until everyone left. I feel so sad and tired now. What are we supposed to do. I hope this doesn’t mean the end of all our careers.”[/b]


Semenya case is still pending: IAAF
Oct 4, 2009 1:37 PM | By Sapa-dpa

The ruling athletics body IAAF is still examining the results of Caster Semenya’s gender test and has called for co-operation from the 800m world champion’s home country of South Africa.

“The case is still pending,” IAAF president Lamine Diack told German Press Agency dpa at the International Olympic Committee congress in Copenhagen.

“We are analysing our own results from Berlin. We need the co-operation from South Africa. The final decision will be made by the IAAF Council,” Diack said.

The affair which started in August soured relationships between the IAAF and South Africa, but repair efforts are being made.

The IAAF announced just hours before the 800m final in August in Berlin that it was conducting sex tests on her. Semenya burst onto the scene two weeks before the worlds with the leading 2009 time and questions were also raised over her masculine physique.

South Africa reacted outraged over the affair and rallied behind the teenaged runner.

But the nation’s athletics supremo Leonard Chuene admitted last month that tests in South Africa were carried out before the worlds and that she competed against the team doctor’s advice in order to get a gold for the country.

The IAAF has not made any official comment since saying in September that it received results from its own tests in Berlin.

It did not confirm Australian news reports that Semenya was intersex, with male and female sex organs, referring to its council meeting on November 20-21 when a ruling on the complicated case involving lawyers and doctors is expected.

Meanwhile, dpa understands that South Africa has still not passed on the results of its own tests on Semenya to the IAAF.

Chuene’s future in the ruling body is unclear but he said he wanted to rejoin the council after initially quitting in protest.

The IAAF is also believed to have not yet talked to Semenya, the most important part of the puzzle leading to a verdict. If she is intersex, it is crucial to know whether or not she was aware of her condition. Her running future would depend on a necessary operation.

The IAAF must decide whether it treats the case as a purely medical affair or in a sports context as well. This is important regarding whether Semenya will be able to keep her gold medal.

While the IAAF appears to lean towards the sports context, IOC medical commission chairperson Arne Ljungqvist said that he sees the case as “a medical matter.”

Ljungqvist told the IOC congress on Saturday he did not want to discuss individuals, but he did reveal that similar cases had occurred at the Olympics, without ever being published.

“We have had similar cases at the Olympics, but confidentiality was kept and should be kept,” he said.

Last updated: October 06, 2009 Search for: Weather: Sydney 13°C - 19°C . Shower or two.
Drunks break up Semanya meeting
By Mike Hurst From: The Daily Telegraph October 05, 2009 9:12PM Increase Text SizeDecrease Text SizePrintEmail Share
Add to DiggAdd to del.icio.usAdd to FacebookAdd to KwoffAdd to MyspaceAdd to NewsvineWhat are these? Scandal…Caster Semanya. Source: The Daily Telegraph
A DRUNKEN mob yesterday broke up a meeting in Pretoria of international athletes discussing the disastrous style of management at Athletics South Africa.

The chaotic disruption, allegedly led by ASA board member Hendrick Mokganyetsi, left athletes fearing their representative careers might be terminated, according to a text message sent by one of the elite athletes in the meeting.

The text, which The Daily Telegraph has received, in part reads: "We just had an athletics meeting so that we as individual athletes can have our say about the whole (Caster Semenya) 800m scandal and about ASA management.

"There was one member of ASA at the meeting and he accused the meeting for (sic) being racist, but then he saw the majority in meeting was black.

"Then after all the athletes raised their concerns, there came a lot of non-athletes into the meeting. They disrupted just when we want to come to conclusions about what we gonna do. They stood up shouting, screaming, dancing … until everyone left. I feel so sad and tired now.

"What are we supposed to do?

"I hope this doesn’t mean the end of all our careers.’’

The athletes’ meeting was called by former Olympians Geraldine Pillay and Arnaud Malherbe following the confession of ASA president Leonard Chuene on September 19 that he lied when he repeatedly declared no gender verification tests had been conducted on sexually ambiguous Semenya before she won the women’s 800m world championship in Berlin in August.

South African athletics has been in chaos since The Daily Telegraph revealed on September 11 that Semenya was an hermaphrodite, and that ASA covered up sex tests it ordered to be conducted on her on August 7 in Pretoria before her controversial win.

In a related matter, the meeting expressed concerns that both of ASA’s major sponsors, Yellow Pages and Nedbank, have ended their support of ASA events, rendering the operations of the sport dependent on government funding.

On Saturday the ruling party African National Congress’s influential Youth League threatened Nedbank with reprisals unless it restored sponsorship of ASA’s road running series.

“The ANCYL will mobilise all patriotic South Africans, corporations, institutions and government departments that bank with Nedbank to withdraw their accounts from the bank and switch to other banks if the sponsorship is not retained,” league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said.

Pillay said nothing was resolved at the athletes meeting “because the meeting was disrupted by a group of individuals who arrived drunk. I have been told ASA mobilised these people to disrupt the meeting.”

Mokganyetsi said he had led the walk-out because Pillay had “not stuck to the agenda”. He denied anyone had been drinking alcohol.

“Nobody caused a disruption,” said Mokganyetsi.

‘Athletes must work with ASA’
2009-10-05 18:29Email | Print

Hendrick Mokganyetsi and Geraldine Pillay during ‘happier’ times. (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Hendrick Mokganyetsi, head of the Athletics South Africa (ASA) athletes’ commission, stood firm against a breakaway commission on Monday, confirming his support of embattled ASA president Leonard Chuene.

Mokganyetsi has been accused of disrupting an athletes’ meeting in Pretoria on Saturday organised by fellow former sprinter Geraldine Pillay.

Pillay blamed Mokganyetsi and a group of individuals, some of whom she said were drunk, for causing chaos at the meeting. She added that Chuene and his handling of the Caster Semenya gender fiasco had not been on the agenda of the meeting. It was rather, she said, a platform for athletes to voice their concerns about the sport and the national federation.

But Mokganyetsi said they had been led to believe Chuene would be discussed at the meeting and, when the subject never came up “after two hours”, he and others in attendance stood up and left. An argument ensued later between Mokganyetsi and Pillay, with the latter accusing ASA of mobilising certain individuals to purposely interrupt the meeting.

And on Monday Mokganyetsi again denied that nobody in attendance had been drinking alcohol – adding that the accusation was racially based – and that he had not meant to disrupt proceedings.

“Some media reports have created an impression that I organised a mob of drunks that disrupted a meeting of athletes in Pretoria over the weekend,” Mokganyetsi said in a statement.

“I want to state it categorically that I never did such a thing. The meeting spiralled into chaos when the organisers couldn’t give an agenda for that meeting.

“I did not see any drunken mob, unless we are ‘drunks reeking of alcohol’ merely because we are African athletes. “

Mokganyetsi stood firm in his support for Chuene while calls are made for the ASA boss’ head.

“The reason that has been advanced as rationale for this lie, that I disrupted or caused the disruption of the meeting, is that I am a supporter of ASA president Leonard Chuene,” he said.

“This is mischievous as Mr Chuene remains the president of ASA, of which I am a board member. I find it ludicrous that, as a board member, there would be assertions that I support the president of ASA.

It is a given.”

Pillay said she would put together a breakaway athletes’ commission, but Mokganyetsi said any such group would need to be sanctioned by ASA.

“ASA is the only official federation for athletes in the country,” said Mokganyetsi.

“A group of athletes getting together and adopting motions would still require the involvement of ASA if they are to be acted upon.”

Mokganyetsi, the joint South African record holder in the 400-metre sprint, called on the nation’s athletes to work together with ASA to find solutions to the current problems within the federation.

“Whatever challenges we may be facing as athletes in South Africa, we will need to deal with them within ASA structures,” he said.

“I therefore appeal to all those who are associated with athletics in the country to work within the structures of the federation, for the love of the sport.”

Provincial bodies call for board to step down

09 October 2009 (14:27)

Leonard Chuene © Gallo Images

Three of Athletics South Africa’s 17 provincial affiliates called for the entire ASA board to step down on Friday.
The Boland, Eastern Province and Western Province provincial athletics associations said in a joint statement that the board, along with ASA senior management, should "take collective responsibility "for the Caster Semenya gender fiasco and “resign with immediate effect.”

The three bodies said they had called upon ASA last week to “explain various matters relating to an incident which occurred at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin”.

But the federation had yet to respond to their collective call, the associations said on Friday, and ASA’s failure to do so “highlights the lack of accountability within South African athletics and the failure of corporate governance on the part of the national federation.”

At the global championships in August, ASA team doctor Harold Adams, also the president of Boland Athletics advised team management to withdraw Semenya from the women’s 800m event in light of results he had received from gender tests done on the athlete in Pretoria earlier that month.

ASA president Leonard Chuene and the team managers chose to ignore Adams’s advice and allowed Semenya to run. On return from Berlin, Chuene and ASA general manager Molatelo Malehopo, who had ordered the tests done on Semenya in Pretoria, repeatedly denied that the tests had been conducted.

In a press conference last month Chuene eventually admitted they had lied, but insisted they had done so to protect Semenya.

On September 24 ASA called a special general meeting in Kempton Park to discuss the actions taken by the federation and it was widely expected that the provincial affiliates would give Chuene a vote of no confidence.

But Chuene’s place at the head of the board was never discussed in the meeting. Afterwards, senior provincial officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Sapa they had been “too scared” to stand up against Chuene due to his political connections.

They added that many association presidents had been placed in their positions by Chuene and he had warned them “if I go, you go”.

But the Boland, Western Province and Eastern Province associations have officially called for the entire board to share the blame with Chuene who has taken much of it upon himself - and step down.

“The (ASA) board and senior management have not taken responsibility for the events which have occurred, choosing to rather allow the president of ASA to bear that responsibility,” the affiliates said.

“It needs to be pointed out that the president of ASA is, in terms of its constitution, a non-executive president and that he alone cannot take all the blame.”

The associations also said that ASA had not openly shared other “relevant information” with the affiliates.

“For example,” the statement said, “the 2008 financial statements have never been sent to ASA’s members despite the provisions of the ASA Constitution and the Companies Act.”

The affiliates added it was worrying that ASA board member Hendrick Mokganyetsi had been accused of disrupting an athletes’ meeting in Pretoria last week and that Mokganyetsi had accused meeting organiser Geraldine Pillay of racism after she blamed some of the people with him for showing up drunk.

Chuene has repeatedly accused the IAAF of racism for conducting gender tests on Semenya, which were done a little over a month after ASA had conducted their own tests without informing Semenya beforehand.

“It is disturbing that the issue of race has entered into this matter,” the associations said.

"Race is irrelevant to the current matter, which relates to the failure of corporate governance at Athletics South Africa.

"There is no question that any specific members, or specific groups, of the ASA board or senior management are being called upon for an explanation.

“The entire senior structure is standing together and must take collective responsibility, regardless of race or other affiliation.The quest for a non-racial country and non-racial sport is as relevant now as it was 20 years ago. Any attempt by anyone, from whatever political background, to bring race into this matter must be rejected.”

The three affiliates also called for ASA to “apologise unconditionally” to the SA government, the public, and Semenya.

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ASA deny withholding prizes

October 09 2009 at 02:47PM  

Athletics South Africa (ASA) has denied that it is withholding athletes’ prize money because it is in financial difficulty.

Spokesman Chris Britz was responding on Friday to a claim by the Democratic Alliance that cash due to the winners of last month’s Cape Town Marathon was being held back.

Japie van der Linde, the party’s deputy spokesman on sport, said earlier this week he had been told by a prize winner that ASA had said it would pay out only at the end of the year.

Standard practice, Van der Linde said, was to pay out within one week of the event.
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‘This slap in the face of our athletic champions is a disgrace’
Sponsors Nedbank had allegedly already released the funds to ASA, which meant ASA was holding onto these funds at the expense of the athletes.

“This slap in the face of our athletic champions is a disgrace, and a clear sign that ASA is in desperate need of sponsorship,” he said.

However, Britz said it was not true that ASA was holding back prizes any longer than normal.

“Athletes must allow a reasonable amount of time for prize money to be paid,” he said.

It was standard procedure to withhold payments until doping tests had been completed, which could take a month or more, depending on how busy the laboratories were.

“There is also no truth to the rumour that ASA in financial difficulties,” he said.

Nedbank announced last month that it was pulling the plug on its ASA sponsorship, a year earlier than scheduled.

The announcement followed controversy over ASA’s handling of hermaphrodite athlete Caster Semenya.

The marathon, run on September 27, had a total prize purse of R664,700.

The male open winner, George Mofokeng of the Nedbank Running Club Gauteng North, told Sapa he had not been told there would be any delay in payment. - Sapa

IAAF plans to develop gender definition

AP Sports Writer

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) – World track and field’s governing body will start examining next week how to determine gender in an athletics context, an initiative spurred by the case of 800-meter world champion Caster Semenya.

The IAAF’s medical commission, which begins meeting Friday, could take a year to deliver that definition and the judicial commission will also be asked to consider future regulations, general secretary Pierre Weiss said Saturday.

“We are obliged to react. It would have been better if we had been prepared to, but we were not prepared,” Weiss told The Associated Press on Saturday. "We will get a reply in the next 12 months - I don’t expect anything to come out before. …

“We were in Copenhagen (at the International Olympic Committee meetings) and I asked my colleagues from other sports if they had a definition and nobody has one. But nobody (else) has had the problem so far.”

Weiss expects the IOC medical commission to also consider the issue in November in Lausanne.The most common cause of sexual ambiguity is congenital adrenal hyperplasia, an endocrine disorder in which the adrenal glands produce abnormally high levels of hormones.

By the time Semenya won the 800 meters at the Berlin world championships in August, questions about the 18-year-old South African’s gender had been raised because of stunning improvements in her times and her muscular build and deep voice.

Before the final, the IAAF announced it had ordered gender tests.

The IAAF has refused to confirm or deny Australian media reports that Semenya has both male and female characteristics. It says it is reviewing test results and will issue a decision in November on whether she will be allowed to compete in women’s events.

“They are being analyzed worldwide by experts,” Weiss said. “We will promote the outcome of this case as soon as it is known.”

Semenya sparks fresh gender row

By Mike Hurst From: The Daily Telegraph October 12, 2009 12:00AM

WORLD athletics chiefs will this week attempt what no man has achieved in history - determining exactly what makes a woman.

The global scandal over sexually ambiguous world champion Caster Semenya has forced the International Association of Athletics Federations to set down in black and white a working definition of what constitutes a woman, for the purposes of competition.

That definition will take into account the biological, biochemical, anatomical, psychological and probably even sociological characteristics that make up females.

IAAF general secretary Pierre Weiss said yesterday the IAAF medical commission, which will meet this Friday, will be asked to come up with a definition of a female and the judicial commission will be asked to frame regulations to safeguard women-only competition.

“We will get a reply in the next 12 months - I don’t expect that anything will come out before,” Weiss said.

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Yet the IAAF is scheduled to decide next month whether Semenya, 18, had an unfair advantage over other women when she emerged from obscurity to win the women’s 800m title in Berlin on August 19.

How “unfair advantage” may be assessed when there is no definition of a “normal” woman is part of the complexity of the Semenya saga, which The Daily Telegraph sparked on September 11 with the revelation that gender tests conducted on Semenya revealed the presence of internal testes which produced three times the amount of testosterone of “normal” females.

Weiss said he had asked colleagues from other sports if they had a definition of a woman for the purposes of participation in sport.

“Nobody has one,” he said.

“But nobody (else) has had the problem so far.”

Athletics South Africa’s president Leonard Chuene and some of his fellow managers were told by IAAF medical commission member and South African team doctor Harold Adams not to allow Semenya to run in the women’s world championship following the results of sex tests conducted in Pretoria on August 7.

Chuene denied any such tests had been conducted or that he had been advised by Adams to withdraw Semenya from competition, but admitted late last month he had lied.

Nullify Caster’s test results, say ANC

October 16 2009 at 02:52PM  

The ANC wants the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) to declare null and void the results of athlete Caster Semenya’s gender verification tests, it said on Friday.

The tests, done in South Africa and Berlin, were not conducted in keeping with IAAF’s gender verification policies and rules, spokesman Jackson Mthembu told a media briefing in Johannesburg.

An ANC task team, established earlier this month to support the gold medallist, met with various people involved in the saga.

“We then decided to request a meeting with the IAAF, in which we plan to advise them to declare the test results null and void ,” said Mthembu.
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‘Semenya’s rights have been infringed’
He said the IAAF’s policy required that an athlete or team should raise a challenge or complaint for the tests to be conducted.

“Our investigation revealed that this did not happen. Also, with the test done here (South Africa), the composition of the panel that can examine an athlete was not according to the IAAF regulations,” said Mthembu.

The IAAF requires that a medical evaluation should be conducted by a panel comprising gyneacologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, internal medical specialist as well as an expert on gender and transgender issues.

“This should also be happening in the strictest confidence, but obviously, this has not happened with the Berlin tests. It is only when the athlete agrees that it can be made public. Semenya’s rights have been infringed,” said Mthembu, adding that had Semenya been from a developed country, her testing would not have been handled this way.

The whole issue smacked of politicking, he said.

‘We should all respect and protect this child’
“I don’t think this was just a mistake by the IAAF. The country is being undermined. Had we been a developed country, we would not be here today,” said Mthembu.

The task team recently met with Athletics South Africa (ASA), and the meeting “did not change our stance on the manner the body handled the issue”.

ANC general-secretary Gwede Mantashe told a press briefing last month that the way ASA managed the gender controversy surrounding Semenya was “disgusting”.

"We need to be upright in censuring the officials who handled the matter.

The ANC’s NEC looked into the issue and felt it was disgusting the way it was managed … ASA didn’t handle the matter with the utmost transparency and honesty," said Mantashe.

Mthembu said on Friday that the party wished ASA had done better but could not sanction them. The SA Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee was dealing with the matter, Mthembu said.

However, he said the IAAF must apologise for its poor handling of the issue.

He said: "We will advise them to publicly and unconditionally apologise to Caster, her family and the enter country for violating her rights.

“Gender testing has been done several times before but results were never leaked to the media. We are not even aware of some of the tests they did but with Caster, the so-called results were published by the international and local media because of leaks. We are aggrieved.”

ANC NEC member Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who is also part of the task team, urged everyone to remember that Semenya was a human being, who is emotionally disturbed. “We should all respect and protect this child who has gone through this terrible ordeal,” said Madikizela-Mandela.

The team announced that it was preparing to launch a celebratory programme for athletes Semenya, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, the men’s 800m gold medallist, and silver medallist in men’s long jump, Kgotso Mokoena.

“We never got to celebrate their victory because of the poor handling of Caster’s gender testing,” Mthembu said.

The IAAF ordered gender tests on 18-year-old Semenya after she won the 800m World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany in August.

The body had refused to comment on reports that the tests showed she was a hermaphrodite. - Sapa