Malema backs under-fire Chuene

African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema came out in support of Athletics South Africa (ASA) president Leonard Chuene on Thursday, calling upon sponsors such as Nedbank to remain loyal to the organisation.

“We believe that attempts to remove him as president for his genuine attempts to protect Caster Semenya are opportunistic and should be rejected,” Malema told reporters in Johannesburg.

He said the ANCYL had met with Chuene to discuss the Semenya gender-testing saga and that he had offered to resign if that was what the country’s leadership wanted.

But Malema said the ANCYL told Chuene there would be no need for him to resign.

Malema also called on sponsors to remain loyal to ASA.

“Nedbank is threatening to withdraw ... let them withdraw,” said Malema.

However, with Chuene and the rest of the ASA board in hot water over their handling of the Semenya gender controversy, Nedbank opted to distance itself from the federation.

Nedbank said in a statement on Thursday that it had terminated the five-year sponsorship deal a year early “in agreement” with ASA.

Chuene last week kept his job after a meeting of ASA despite growing calls for his resignation over his handling of the Semenya saga.

Chuene has admitted that he lied about knowledge of a gender test done on Semenya before her gold in the women’s 800m at the IAAF Championships in Berlin last month.

But ASA’s council voiced confidence in Chuene.

“The meeting unanimously expressed confidence in the current ASA leadership,” spokesperson Chris Britz told reporters.

“It also resolved that ASA will participate and fully cooperate in any statutory commission of inquiry that be instituted on this matter”.

It has also been reported that Semenya has begun a legal battle to find out the details of the tests conducted for the International Association of Athletics Federations.

The Star has reported that lawyers have taken on her case pro bono to win access to her medical records and to determine how confidential files were leaked to the media.

Leaked test results said Semenya was a hermaphrodite, sparking further anger from the South African public and government, who have rallied behind the athlete.—Sapa, AFP

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