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17 Sep 2009 12:58
Athletics South Africa (ASA) on Thursday requested that a commission of inquiry be established into how it handled the Caster Semenya saga.
“In order to focus its attention in the best interests of all its athletes, the ASA is open to the appointment of a commission of inquiry into the way in which it conducted its affairs around the Caster Semenya issue,” it said in a statement.
“The ASA’s first priority is to ensure that Caster Semenya’s professional career is protected. The federation is right now focusing its efforts and attention on dealing with the questions around her legitimately continuing to participate in athletics.”
It said it could not afford to be drawn into a “media campaign to discredit the leadership and administration of the ASA at this time”.
A commission of inquiry would allow ASA to focus its attention on Semenya’s future.
“The ASA will allow this proposed commission of inquiry to run its full course and then deal conclusively with all questions around its conduct rather than responding piecemeal to ongoing allegations, speculation and rumours from a variety of sources.”
On Thursday the Star reported that ASA boss Leonard Chuene was investigating claims that Semenya was duped into undergoing gender tests.
“On the basis of all these [claims], I will quickly be contacting all the people making these allegations so that they can inform me,” Chuene said.
“We will make a follow-up on those names to establish what tests were done and by whom, when and how.”
Until now, Chuene has denied that gender tests were done on Semenya without informing her what the tests were about.
Meanwhile, ASA is expected to appear before the National Assembly’s sport committee to explain its role in the Semenya saga.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) insisted that gender tests be conducted on Semenya after she won the 800m world championships in Berlin last month.
Since then, accusations have been flying around that ASA should have pre-empted that she would be tested; and, more recently, there are claims that ASA did test her—but without her knowledge.
The team’s doctor, Harold Adams, who has been uncontactable since the Berlin race, apparently recommended to ASA that Semenya not participate in Berlin.
Her coach, Wilfred Daniels, has resigned amidst the controversy, saying ASA duped her into going for gender tests.—Sapa
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