South African Teen Phenom’s Gender Sparks Controversy After Winning Women’s 800m Gold at World Athletics Championships

August 20, 2009

(ChattahBox) — A South African track phenom has sparked controversy after bursting on the scene as an 18-year-old to easily win the 800-meter gold medal at the world championships. Caster Semenya  dominating performance came the same day the IAAF announced that the 18-year-old runner was undergoing a gender-verification test amid concerns she doesn’t meet the requirements to compete as a woman.

Under most circumstances, any controversy surrounding an athlete is handled well before a major competition, but Ms. Semenya’s stunning rise from an unknown teenage runner caught the track world by surprise. About three weeks ago, the IAAF asked the South African athletics federation to conduct the gender test after Ms. Semenya came out of nowhere to post a world leading time at the African junior championships in Bambous, Maruitius.

The teenager’s stunning improvement in times, along with her amazing muscular build and deep voice, sparked speculation about her gender.  The gender test takes several weeks so it couldn’t be completed in time for the world championships.

But her mother Dorcus Semenya is not worried, telling South Africa’s Star newspaper via the Telegragh: “If you go at my home village and ask any of my neighbours, they would tell you that Mokgadi is a girl.

“They know because they helped raise her. People can say whatever they like but the truth will remain, which is that my child is a girl. I am not concerned about such things.”

Photo: ASA


Comments

10 Responses to “South African Teen Phenom’s Gender Sparks Controversy After Winning Women’s 800m Gold at World Athletics Championships”

  1. South African Teen Phenom’s Gender Sparks Controversy After Winning Women’s 800m Gold at World Athletics Championships on August 20th, 2009 8:14 am

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  3. Chris R on August 20th, 2009 1:36 pm

    I don’t see the problem of testing to see whether or not he/she is a woman or not.

    I understand that it is offensive and very personal, but if there are questions, they should be addressed.

  4. Ronk on August 20th, 2009 1:38 pm

    She looks very much like a man. I’d want to check too. Is that really so surprising?

  5. Chrystal K. on August 20th, 2009 6:49 pm

    That is so sad. I would be so hurt if that were me.

  6. Carole Ford on August 20th, 2009 7:24 pm

    It’s in the past. just let her have her medals.

  7. Chris on August 21st, 2009 1:00 pm

    I feel bad for her, she can’t help her condition and she probably has been mocked all her life. At least she can be finally do something that she can be proud of.

  8. jason on August 21st, 2009 2:43 pm

    She runs like a man and she looks like a man… chances are she is a he.

  9. Lao Music on September 1st, 2009 1:40 am

    If she is not guilty there is nothing to hide..

  10. lizzie Kanon on September 14th, 2009 8:44 pm

    Its very sad that nothing was done when she was much younger. This is mainly because people dont talk about these things. Everything is hash hash and now the poor girl must be so humiliated. Imagine what she and the rest of her family are going through. I hope she gets all the help and the support she needs from everyone corncerned. I am just glad this was dictated sooner than later.

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