Ruling on SA runner by July
DOHA, Qatar – A solution to the controversy over the gender of South African runner Caster Semenya will be reached by the end of June, says president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, (IAAF) Lamine Diack.
The 19-year-old Semenya has not run competitively since winning the women’s 800 metres title at last year’s World Championships in Berlin.
She underwent sex tests to determine whether she was eligible to compete as a woman.
“We are on the way to finding a solution not later than the end of June,” Diack said on Friday, ahead of the season’s first Diamond League meet.
“This girl is in a difficult situation and it’s difficult for everyone.”The IAAF has repeatedly said it will not make any public comment on Semenya until the medical process was complete, and Semenya has agreed to wait for the results of her gender test to be released before competing.
Semenya, however, has said she plans to return to competition on June 24 at a meet in Zaragoza, Spain, though that remains uncertain until results of her medical tests had been analysed.
In April, shortly after she was prevented from taking part in a meet in Stellenbosch, South Africa, Semenya insisted she would fight to compete but acknowledged she had not taken any decision for a long-term career in the sport.
Semenya destroyed the field to win the 800 at the Worlds last August. Her dramatic improvement in times and in muscular build led the IAAF to order gender tests.
The IAAF has refused to confirm or deny Australian media reports that the tests indicate Semenya has both male and female sex organs.
On a separate matter, Diack said he would step down as head of the IAAF if elected president of Senegal in 2012.
Diack, who has held the IAAF presidency since 1999, confirmed he will stand for re-election of the athletics body next year in Daegu, South Korea – venue for the 2011 World Championships.
“I’m as enthusiastic as I was when I was 36,” the 77-year-old Diack said. “I’m in good health and I will try to demonstrate that we are not in bankruptcy.”
Diack said he will propose cuts of US$8 million as part of a commitment to reduce the budget to US$47 million by 2011. Cuts will be discussed and agreed at an IAAF executive board meeting in Monaco this month and then proposed to a full council meeting in Kiev in August which would then approve the budget.
Asked about a presidential bid in Senegal, Diack said nearly everyone in his homeland wants him to run.
President Abdoulaye Wade announced last year that he would run for a third term – a move that came after lawmakers in 2006 removed term limits.
There have also been reports that Wade’s son would run, which Diack opposes over concerns that it would be undemocratic.
Diack said that if he were to become president of Senegal, he would step down from the IAAF and an interim president would serve out the remainder of his four-year term. (AP)