6 Nov 2009

South African athletics officials suspended over handling of Semenya sex test

2:56 pm on 6 November 2009

South Africa's Olympic governing body has suspended the president and board of Athletics South Africa over their handling of 800 metres world champion Caster Semenya's gender verification tests.

Semenya, 18, blitzed the field to take the women's 800 world title in Berlin in August in the fastest time of the year.

Athletics international governing body, the IAAF, had already begun a gender verification process prior to the race but Semenya was allowed to compete pending the outcome of the tests.

It was subsequently disclosed that South African athletics officials had conducted gender verification tests on Semenya before she competed in Berlin, but the president Leonard Chuene denied that was the case later admitting he lied claiming he wanted to protect the athlete's privacy.

No decision on the tests is expected until later this month but the IAAF has declined to comment on a report in an Australian newspaper in September which said Semenya had both male and female sexual characteristics.