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November 6, 2009

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Home » Sports » Athletics

S Africa suspends track body over row

SOUTH Africa's Olympic governing body has suspended the president and board of Athletics South Africa over their handling of 800 meters world champion Caster Semenya's gender verification tests.

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) announced yesterday that ASA President Leonard Chuene and the ASA board would be "suspended with immediate effect pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation and further action.

"The suspended individuals will appear before a disciplinary enquiry to answer charges of bringing ASA, the sport of athletics, SASCOC and sport in general into disrepute," the statement said.

SASCOC also said in the statement it was also considering "taking appropriate action against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for its disregard of Ms Semenya's rights to privacy".

Semenya, 18, destroyed the field to take the women's 800 world title in Berlin in August.

The IAAF had already begun a gender verification process prior to the race but Semenya was allowed to compete pending the outcome of the tests. It was subsequently disclosed that ASA conducted gender verification tests on Semenya in South Africa before she competed in Berlin. Chuene admitted lying about the tests, saying he had wanted to protect the athlete's privacy.

Earlier, ASA had issued a formal apology to Semenya.

"Athletics South Africa wishes to publicly and unconditionally apologize to Caster Semenya and her family, the president of South Africa as well as to all South Africans for the handling of her gender verification processes and the subsequent aftermath," ASA said.


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