Former Mail & Guardian sports reporter Lucky Sindane was named SAB Sports Journalist of the Year on Monday evening for his features surrounding the Caster Semenya furore.
SA’s Olympic governing body Sascoc suspended Athletics South Africa president Leonard Chuene in November 2009, as well as the board and its members, over their handling of the Semenya saga. The Mail & Guardian revealed in October that a report by the doctor of the South African athletics team, Harold Adams, accused Chuene of deliberately politicising and sowing confusion in the Semenya gender test saga.
Adams’s confidential report, leaked to the M&G, suggested that Chuene consulted top-level politicians before deciding, against Adams’s advice, to field Semenya in the World Athletics Championship in Berlin in August.
Semenya won the women’s 800m title in Berlin, but reports have said that she underwent a gender test before participating in the event. Chuene later admitted to lying about the results of the test
Sindane almost did not attend the awards and was not aware he would be the star of the evening. He bagged R45 000 overall in prizes. He was so excited when the award was announced that he almost ran out of words when he was asked for comment.
Sindane thanked the Mail & Guardian and in particular his former sports editor Fikile Ntsikelelo-Moya for shaping his reportage. Sindane joined the M&G as a rookie reporter three years ago.
M&G deputy editor Rapule Tabane recalled that until 12 noon on the day before publication, “we were unsure whether we would proceed with the [Semenya] story”.
“Sindane had gathered most of the information but we still felt, as editors, that the story lacked a smoking gun. The real evidence, in the form of email communication, was obtained very late in the process. That was the day Sindane made international headlines and claimed the scalp of Leonard Chuene.”