MONTE CARLO (Reuters) - The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is still seeking a resolution to South African runner Caster Semenya’s gender case, spokesman Nick Davies said on Friday.
Semenya, 18, underwent gender verification tests in South Africa and Germany after winning the women’s 800 meters at the Berlin world championships last August. A panel of experts convened by the IAAF has been studying the results.
In an interview with Reuters, Davies said it had also yet to be decided under what circumstances the 18-year-old would be allowed to compete as a woman.
South Africa’s sports ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the IAAF had agreed to allow Semenya to retain her gold medal and prize money.
But neither Davies nor leaders of the IAAF, including president Lamine Diack, vice-presidents Sergei Bubka and Robert Hersh nor general secretary Pierre Weiss would confirm the statement on Friday.
”We are not in the position at the moment to confirm 100 per cent, what was announced yesterday by the South Africans,“ Davies said after the morning session of an IAAF council meeting. ”We are still discussing and hopefully we will have a resolution soon.
“We are working flat out quietly behind the scenes to resolve it. We are almost there.” Neither the South African federation nor the IAAF has said publicly under what circumstances Semenya would be allowed to continue to compete as a female.
“She is eligible at the moment,” Davies said. “The question is more ‘is there anything that will prevent her competing in the future’, and that’s exactly what we are trying to resolve.”
The South African statement said: “The implications of the scientific findings on Caster’s health and life going forward will be analyzed by Caster and she will make her own decision on her future. Whatever she decides, ours is to respect her decision.”
Australia’s Daily Telegraph, citing an unnamed source, reported in September that Semenya was a hermaphrodite with both male and female sexual characteristics. The IAAF would not confirm the report.
Davies said the IAAF had received no complaints from other athletes or national federations about Semenya.
He said the IAAF would use a symposium in the United States next year to help it determine whether changes were needed in its gender rules in light of the case.
The symposium, organized by IOC medical commission chairman and former IAAF official Arne Ljungqvist, will look at gender issues and advise sports groups how to react.
“That is really the first process,” Davies said.
“You follow those conclusions, then we will be in a position to say: ‘do we need to look at our rules again...do we need to do anything differently’.”
He said The IAAF would like all sports, not just those in the Olympic movement, to adopt standard gender rules.
Editing by John Mehaffey