SA officials apologise to Caster Semenya over Berlin shame

Submitted by ATAF Editor on 5 November 2009 - 6:12pm

Athletics South Africa (ASA) has apologised to World 800 metres champion Caster Semenya, her parents and the nation about its role in the handling of the athlete's gender row since the last World athletics championships.

ASA said in a statement that the board would lead a delegation to meet the athlete, her family and government for discussions on the matter.

"Athletics South Africa (ASA) wishes to publicly and unconditionally apologise 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."

"Athletics South Africa hopes that this will bring closure to a very unpleasant episode for Caster," the statement read.

The public apology came after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) conducted an investigation that found ASA "were less than honest and very defensive and did not disclose their role in the process in sanctioning the gender verification tests conducted in South Africa".

The ANC task force had urged the ASA to come clean about its role in the saga and in response the ASA says it "appreciates the ANC's position on this matter, fully welcomes and accepts without any reservations the findings and recommendations of the task team".

Initial denial

ASA boss Leonard Chuene initially denied any knowledge of the gender tests, but later admitted that he knew about them and ignored advice to withdraw Semenya from competing in the world championships in August.

Tests into Semenya's sex were announced by the IAAF shortly before the athlete won a gold medal in the 800m race - thrusting her into the global spotlight.