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Controversy over track star's gender

August 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The president of South Africa's track and field federation said Thursday racism is to blame for the scrutiny over the gender of South African track star Caster Semenya.The 18-year-old Semenya won the women's 800-meter world champion race at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Berlin on Wednesday. Her time was 1 minute, 55.45 seconds.

But much of the focus of the teenager's appearance at the event has been about her gender. Semenya is undergoing a gender verification test prompted by concerns she does not meet the requirements to compete as a woman.

"It would not be like that if it were some young girl from Europe," Athletics South Africa president Leonard Chuene told The Associated Press.

He added Semenya is insulted and humiliated by the accusations.

Questions about Semenya's gender emerged after her times improved but also because of speculation about her muscular build and deep voice.

But Chuene dismissed the allegations.

"If there was evidence, she would have been stopped," he told AP.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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