/ 18 February 2011

Athletics boss Chuene fired

Athletics Boss Chuene Fired

Leonard Chuene, the athletics boss at the centre of the Caster Semenya gender scandal, has been fired and banned from the sport for seven years, South Africa’s Olympic committee said on Friday.

Leonard Chuene and two Athletics South Africa (ASA) board members had been removed with “immediate effect” from their posts after a South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) investigation.

“Furthermore Mr Chuene is barred from holding any position in athletics or any other code of sport under the jurisdiction of Sascoc for a period of seven years,” the committee said in a statement.

Chuene was suspended last November for his role in the handling of 800m champion Semenya’s gender row after he admitted lying to the nation and government when he said he knew nothing about the gender test.

Tests into Semenya’s sex were announced by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) shortly before the athlete won a gold medal — thrusting her into the global spotlight.

Chuene faced 16 charges, including poor corporate governance, misappropriation of funds and tax evasion, and was found guilty of 14 on Monday.

Sascoc said these included “the Caster Semenya issue” and the “sale of a Mercedes-Benz to Chuene for one rand”.

After Semenya’s win at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, leaked test results said she was a hermaphrodite, sparking anger from the South African public and government.

However, she was cleared to compete as a woman by the IAAF last year in July after nearly a year of speculation over her gender. — AFP