22 Aug 2009

South African champion runner Semenya devastated by doubts about her gender

10:07 am on 22 August 2009

South African 800-metre world champion Caster Semenya has revealed she nearly boycotted the awards ceremony after feeling devastated by the row over her gender.

Athletics South Africa president Leonard Chuene says she did not want to go on the podium, but he told her she must.

Semenya's family say they are angry at the International Association of Athletics Federations' decision to conduct gender tests on their 18-year-old daughter.

Her father, Jacob Semenya says the family does not accept her having to undergo the tests, and agree with Caster that she should have rather rejected the medal.

The popular Sowetan tabloid published a copy of Semenya's birth certificate, listing her sex as female, on its front page under the headline "She's a girl".

In an editorial "Shush, you silly twerps", the popular tabloid hit out at Semenya's detractors, calling it a "clearly contrived controversy".

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said in Berlin that she could keep her medal even if a battery of tests ruled against her.