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Semenya: ‘I’m the one who decides’

South Africa’s world 800-metre champion Caster Semenya remains defiant as she awaits a decision on her gender verification tests and athletics future.

“I don’t care about anyone else’s decision,” the track and field ace said on Thursday, referring to the IAAF. “I’m the one who decides in the end if I’m going to run.”

According to Sapa, the 19-year-old Semenya has not run competitively since winning the women’s 800m title at last year’s world championships in Berlin. Her dramatic improvement in times and muscular build led the International Association of Athletics Federations to order gender tests.

The IAAF has said a ruling on her case is expected by the end of June.

Semenya had planned to return to competition on June 24 at a meet in Zaragoza, Spain, but the meet has been called off because of financial problems. “Run or don’t run, it doesn’t make a difference,” Semenya said.

She is in the Ivory Coast to accept an honorary award from a local sports association and help train local athletes. She was also honoured by the Ivorian sports minister shortly after her arrival late on Wednesday.

“I’m still training every day,” Semenya said. “Every athlete wants a gold at the Olympics, and that’s still my goal.”

Semenya was at the national stadium in downtown Abidjan on Thursday, demonstrating stretching techniques and drills. She ran alongside a dozen local female runners who were selected to train with her during her five-day stay.

“I just want to help other African athletes,” she said, laughing with the young Ivorian girls despite the language barrier. “They remind me of when I started. I also ran barefoot. I’ll keep training and helping others. No competition is necessary.”

Semenya’s coach, Michael Seme, also made the trip to Ivory Coast and helped out at the training session.

He said the IAAF’s decision has already taken too long.┬á “They’re doing their job,” he said, “but they’re wasting Caster’s time.”

Seme said IAAF officials were taking their time because they know her case will be used as a precedent.┬á “They are using this case to check out the rules, to prevent cheaters,” he said.


5 comments
Fana
Fana

Pretending.... Black people will never say that about a fellow black person

Jon
Jon

Clint is right. And we should not support cheats who are ineligible. Semenya's not a proper woman. That much is patently obvious, even to a child. Quit pretending.

Mark Etheridge
Mark Etheridge

SASCOC is most definitely 100% in support of our athletes, each and every one of them. But we also have to be open-minded and take note of different opinions. This situation has invited enormous debate and until the results and decision are made known we cannot take a blinkered approach. Mark Etheridge Managing Editor, Road to London, 2012

Fana
Fana

Dear Editor, Please remove the remarks above. We need to support our athletes, not make such negative comments. SASCOC is about athletes first!

Clint
Clint

Semenya may be the one who decides if he runs, but others have to decide whether Semenya runs in a skirt or trousers. Speaking to people that know Semenya, it becomes clear that the person has actually been very aggressive and rude in the past, at school level and there have always been questions about gender. If it turns out he/she is a man, well as sad as it sounds, it's just the way it is. There are many athletes who don't win, but competing in another division where you have an advantage isn't exactly fair is it.