The father of South African teenager, Caster Semenya, at the centre of a humiliating gender-test controversy has dismissed speculation his daughter is not a woman.
The 18-year-old athlete's father, Jacob, told the Sowetan newspaper in South Africa: "She is my little girl. I raised her and I have never doubted her gender. She is a woman and I can repeat that a million times."
He said he had been following events at the Berlin world championships and was proud of his daughter’s achievements.
"I have no doubt she is going to make us all proud. For the first time South Africans have someone to be proud of and detractors are already shouting wolf. It is unfair."
"I wish they would leave my daughter alone," he pleaded.
Caster Semenya last night won the women's 800m gold medal at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Berlin in an impressive style, despite the furore.
Semenya followed the same tactics as in the semi-finals and held off any challenges her opponents could muster to stride to an easy victory in 1:55,45 defeating Kenya's Janeth Kepkosgei Busienei (1:57,90) and Britain's Jennifer Meadows (1:54,93).
Semenya's time is a world leading performance for 2009 and also bettered her own South African record.
She went to the front from the start and kept her position with Kepkosgei when they passed the 400m mark in 56.83 seconds.
Semenya's talents were first observed in 2007 when she clocked 2:09,35 and finished second at the National Schools Championships in Port Elizabeth. A few weeks later she finished fifth at the Southern African regional meeting.
In 2008 she went to the IAAF World Junior Championships and although she gained valuable experience, she was eliminated in the heats of the 800m.
Three months later she won the 800m at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India, in 2:04, 23 and evidence of her talents were clear. After completing her matric in Polokwane, she then moved to Pretoria to be with her new coach Michael Seme.
On 6 March this year she broke Zola Budd's 25 year old junior record in the 800 metres when she clocked 2:00,58 at the Yellow Pages meeting in Germiston, and then followed with a world-class-performance of 1:56,72 at the African Junior Championships in Mauritius.
Other SA performances
Willem Coertzen had steady performances on the first day of the decathlon competition and ended the day on 4154 points.
He recorded performances of 10, 89 seconds in the 100m, 7,32m in the long jump, 13,43m in the shot put, 2,02m in the high jump and 48, 63 seconds in the 400m.
Elizna Naude despite achieving a seasonal best distance this year of 59,67m failed to qualify for the final of the women's discus. Naude had other throws of 59,46m (twice) but in the end had to settle for the overall 16th place after the qualifying rounds.
Xuejun Ma of China led the qualifiers with a distance of 63,38m followed by her countryman, Aimin Song, with 62,80m.
Lehann Fourie ran an impressive heat in the 110m hurdles recording a time of 13,67 seconds in fourth place behind the winner, Dongpeng Shi of China. Shi won in 13,56 seconds.
Fourie had right up to the last heat a chance of qualifying for the second round on time but eventually lost out to Russian, Evgeniy Borisov with a time of 13,63 seconds.