Athlete Caster Semenya 'a hermaphrodite' - reports

The athletics world has been left reeling this morning by the revelation world champion South African Caster Semenya, 18, is a hermaphrodite, Australian media are reporting today.

The International Association of Athletics Federations was last night preparing to disqualify Semenya from future events after gender verification tests revealed evidence that she has no womb or ovaries and carries both male and female sexual organs, according to a report in Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

Sources involved in the IAAF testing, which involved various scans, said Semenya was found to have internal testes and three times the amount of testosterone that a "normal" female would have, the Telegraph said.

The sport's governing body, which has not decided whether or not it will strip Semenya of her 800m world championships gold medal, will also advise the runner to seek immediate surgery, believing her condition poses significant health risks.

Semenya's gender came under question following her victory in the 800m at last month's world titles in Berlin, causing outrage in South Africa.

The African National Congress MP and National Assembly sports committee chairman Butana Komphela has lodged a complaint with the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights accusing the IAAF of racism and sexism.

But some have claimed South Africa is turning a blind eye to what could be serious health concerns for the runner. The IAAF expects to receive a full set of medical results within days, The Australian newspaper reported.

"This is a medical issue and not a doping issue where she was deliberately cheating," IAAF spokesman Nick Davies was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

"These tests do not suggest any suspicion of deliberate misconduct but seek to assess the possibility of a potential medical condition which would give Semenya an unfair advantage over her competitors. There is no automatic disqualification of results in a case like this."

The IAAF has said Semenya would probably keep her medal because the case was not related to a drug matter. But the SMH said an alternative possibility was to award a second gold to the runner-up, Janeth Jepkosgei from Kenya.


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