SA to lodge complaint with UN over Semenya

South Africa plans to lodge a complaint with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights over the gender test ordered on middle-distance runner Caster Semenya, officials said on Friday.

The Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation said the commissioner needed to investigate the “gross and severe undermining of rights and privacy” by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Semenya’s gender has been under scrutiny since her arrival in Berlin for the World Athletics Championship where she won a gold medal in the women’s 800m.

“The humiliation of Semenya was a sign of sexist action by IAAF as it undermined the achievements of women,” sports committee chairperson Butana Komphela said in a statement.

The IAAF said on Friday it had to conduct the test to make sure Semenya doesn’t have an unfair advantage over her opponents.

In a statement, the IAAF said it regretted allegations being made against the athlete and that the tests are “still under way to verify the gender of Caster Semenya further to remarkable improvements in the athlete’s performance in recent months.

“These tests do not suggest any suspicion of deliberate misconduct but seek to assess the possibility of a potential medical condition which would give Semenya an unfair advantage over her competitors.

“The IAAF recognises the sensitivity of this issue and deeply regrets the allegations being made about the reasons for which these tests are being conducted,” the IAAF said in Berlin. - Sapa-DPA

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