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September 10, 2009

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Semenya set to keep 800 gold

THE results of Caster Semenya's gender verification tests are due to arrive at the IAAF any day, but the outcome is unlikely to see the world 800-meter champion stripped of her gold medal.

Speculation about the South African's gender was sparked by stunning improvements in times coupled with her muscular build and deep voice. It emerged tests were being conducted when Semenya easily won the 800 at the world championships last month in Berlin.

The tests are to determine if the 18-year-old Semenya has a medical condition that blurs her gender and gives her an unfair advantage.

The definitive outcome will be determined by athletics' international governing body within two weeks after a team of experts analyzes the data.

"We will get the results any day now of the Berlin investigation, then they need to be checked - it's not something where you have a yes or a no," IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said on Tuesday. "The set of data will be checked by a group consisting of at least the IAAF medical and anti-doping commission and probably with experts from the outside.

"Only then, with conclusive evidence, would we be in a position to make an educated decision based on that evidence. My information is that it will take between eight days and two weeks to be in a position to speak to Semenya."

The process required a physical medical evaluation and includes reports from a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, internal medicine specialist and gender expert.

IAAF General Secretary Pierre Weiss had said in Berlin that Semenya would be stripped of her gold medal if tests showed she wasn't a woman. But Davies indicated on Tuesday that Semenya was likely to keep the medal she won by 2.45 seconds in a year-best 1 minute, 55.45 seconds.

"There is no automatic disqualification of results in a case like this. This is not a doping case at present so it shouldn't be considered as one where you have a retroactive stripping of results."


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