South African Runner a Hermaphrodite

September 10, 2009 by Jeanne Dupuis  
Filed under Sports

Just weeks after South African runner, Caster Semenya, submitted to tests to determine her gender (many speculated that the female runner was really a man), the results are in – she’s “technically a hermaphrodite.”  Wow.  I was not expecting that one!

20090819_zaf_e26_068

image: Zuma Press

The news came after an extensive physical examination showed that Semenya has no ovaries but has internal male testes which fuel her body with large amounts of testosterone.

IAAF spokesman, Nick Davies, said of the situation:  “This is a medical issue and not a doping issue where she was deliberately cheating. These tests do not suggest any suspicion of deliberate misconduct but seek to assess the possibility of a potential medical condition which would give Semenya an unfair advantage over her competitors. There is no automatic disqualification of results in a case like this.”

What does this mean, then?  Will she be able to continue competing as a female, switch over to male sports or be allowed to compete within both groups?

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