South Africans are up in arms over media reports from Australia
claiming Caster Semenya- the world 800m race champion has no “womb
or ovaries”. On Thursday night reports where awash with speculation that the 18 year old had gone into hiding after the claims where published in
The Daily Telegraph in Australia said that Semenya’s gender test results showed that she has no womb or ovaries. The report, among other things, claimed that the teenager has three times the amount of testosterone that a “normal” female would have and is a hermaphrodite.
Semenya is meant is compete at the 4000m women’s event at the South
African national cross-country championships in Pretoria on Saturday. South Africans led by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have come out in
support of Semenya.
“I am listening to the news. I’m just extremely hurt by what I am hearing. The poor innocent child is a victim of all this, and it is not of her making,” Madikizela-Mandela is quoted as saying by the Star on Friday. “I think it is the responsibility of South Africa to rally behind this child and tell the rest of the world that she remains the hero she is, and no one will take that away from her.
She said she does not understand how any sane person can blame “this
child for a biological problem which is not of her making.” Madikizela-Mandela appealed to all mothers in South Africa “to stand up and support the mother of this child and this child. She needs our moral support. We should tell her how proud we are of her. It doesn’t matter what she looks like.”
Although Semenya’s recent makeover has been much appreciated by her fans who argue that her new more feminine look goes to prove that she is all woman, Madikizela-Mandela has criticised the local You/Huisgenoot magazine for making a “caricature” out of Semenya by dressing her up in its latest edition. “It was the most cruel prank any human being could inflict on another,” said Madikizela-Mandela.
The IAAF secretary general Pierre Weiss is quoted saying “It is clear that she is a woman but maybe not 100%. We have to see if she has an advantage from her possibly being between two sexes compared to the
others.” Leornado Chuene, SA Athletics president, says he has been communicating with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) about the matter and was told an official statement regarding the matter will be released in November.
Semenya underwent a series of tests to verify her gender at the world
championships in Berlin, Germany, last month, where she won gold in the women’s 800m race.