"If the teasing hurt her, she kept the hurt to herself and didn't show what she was feeling".
Caster Semenya's grandmother
Watch the end of the race: Video kinda grainy (hand held camera phone) but pay attention to how easy she runs away from the pack.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...4NaU&feature=related
Post race interview:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...2vEU&feature=related
Family insist SA runner is female.
The family of the new 800m world champion, South African Caster Semenya, has insisted she is a woman.
She has been dogged by controversy about her gender and the International Association of Athletics Federations has asked her to take a gender test.
"I know she's a woman — I raised her myself," the 18-year-old's grandmother told South Africa's Times newspaper.
The ruling ANC party congratulated Ms Semenya and called on South Africans to rally around "our golden girl".
"We condemn the motives of those who have made it their business to question her gender due to her physique and running style," the African National Congress said in a statement.
"Such comments can only serve to portray women as being weak."
Her mother Dorcus Semenya told the Star newspaper that doubts about her daughter's gender were motivated by "jealousy".
"If you go at my home village and ask any of my neighbours, they would tell you that Mokgadi [Caster Semenya] is a girl," she said.
"They know because they helped raise her. People can say whatever they like but the truth will remain, which is that my child is a girl. I am not concerned about such things."
Her 80-year-old grandmother Maphuthi Sekgala said Ms Semenya had been teased when younger for her boyish looks.
She was also the only girl in the football team in Fairlie, a village in South Africa's northern Limpopo Province, Ms Sekgala told The Times.
"If the teasing hurt her, she kept the hurt to herself and didn't show what she was feeling," she said.
Ms Semenya won gold at the Athletics World Championships in Berlin on Wednesday, leaving her rivals trailing.
South Africa's athletics federation also says it is "completely sure" that Ms Semenya is a femalehttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8211319.stm
Semenya left stranded by storm.
When Usain Bolt is no longer the main topic of conversation at the World Championships, you know something dramatic must have happened.
There had been whispers circulating about South African 800m prodigy Caster Semenya ever since she ran a spectacular 1 minute 56.72 seconds in a low-key meet on 26 July.
Not only was it the fastest time in the world this year by more than a second, it meant she had improved her personal best by seven seconds in less than nine months. And, she said afterwards, she could have run even quicker had it not been for a strong wind on the back straight.
For once, the tittle-tattle was not the usual sort about performance-enhancing substances. This was more basic and a whole lot nastier: was the 'she' actually a 'he'?
It wasn't just the rapid time. Semenya has a well-muscled physique. She also has a dusting of facial hair. Mix those three things together and ugly rumours spread like wildfire.
What no-one quite expected was the way the story would suddenly develop with the 800m final just hours away.
Earlier in the week, it had been the stuff of bar-room banter. The favourite quote was from Semenya's coach Michael Seme, who had told reporters: "I can give you the telephone numbers of her room-mates in Berlin. They have already seen her naked in the showers and she has nothing to hide."
Seme also recounted how, when Semenya recently tried to use the women's toilets at a petrol station in Cape Town, the attendants tried to direct her to the gents instead.
"Caster just laughed and asked if they would like her to take off her pants to show them she was a woman," said Seme. "We understand that people will ask questions because she looks like a man. It's a natural reaction and it's only human to be curious."
So far, so amusing - but the atmosphere began to change when Semenya charged through her heat and semi-final in such dominant fashion that she was suddenly the red-hot favourite for gold.
What had been a story known only to athletics aficionados suddenly had legs. Questions started being asked of athletics' ruling body, the IAAF. The jokes started getting more unpleasant. The 'c' word - cheat - rose to the surface.
Cynics recalled the famous case of German high jumper Dora Ratjen, who won gold at the Olympics here in Berlin in 1936 but was later revealed to be a chap named Hermann. The comparison was ridiculous - Ratjen was forced to conceal his gender by the Nazi government and had been born and raised a man - and the reaction from the South African team indignant.
'She is a female," insisted general manager Molatelo Malehopo. "We are completely sure about that. We would not have entered her into the female competition if we had any doubts."
Then, with just three hours to go until the final, news broke in Berlin that the IAAF had asked Semenya to take a gender test.
The story fizzed round the Olympiastadion. What did the test involve? When would the results be known? Would Semenya even be allowed to run?
Gradually the prevailing mood shifted. Why was this coming out now? In the case of a doping test, the media are not notified unless both 'A' and 'B' samples have tested positive. Until then there is silence. Yet here a cloud of official suspicion was being allowed to gather before anything had been proved.
That any woman would be confronted with such serious accusation in front of a worldwide audience of millions struck many as callous. That it was an 18-year-old from Limpopo province at her first major senior championships seemed cruel in the extreme.
Semenya was on the warm-up track while inside the gossip flew round the adjacent main stadium. "The timing has caught us out," admitted an IAAF spokesman as the eight finalists were called together.
As Semenya emerged onto the track from the pre-race call-room, the photographers' long lenses swung in unison and locked on her face.
She looked implausibly calm under her neat corn-rows. On the blocks she waited for the television camera to come in close on her and then mimed brushing something from her shoulders. That there were two British girls in the final - Jenny Meadows and Marilyn Okoro, both with a chance of a medal - had almost been forgotten.
As if trying to escape the furore, the South African went off at breakneck speed. Reigning champ Janeth Jepkosgei took over for a few brief seconds on the back straight but was left struggling as the teenager took them through the bell in under 57 seconds, a blistering pace.
While the rest of the field went backwards, Semenya went again. Coming into the final straight she had a lead of five metres. At the line it was two and a half seconds, the biggest margin in World Championship history and another big personal best.
Yet while Jepkosgei and Meadows - a brilliant third - went off for laps of honour, Semenya was ushered away by officials, straight past the hordes of waiting journalists.
At the winner's news conference half an hour later, there was no sign of the teenager. "To protect her," explained a weary IAAF secretary general Pierre Weiss.
For the hundreds of reporters waiting, this was not enough. Where were the tests done? "At a special hospital here and in South Africa." When were they finished? "They are ongoing." Why was this not sorted earlier? Semenya had run the 800m at the Commonwealth Youth Games as long ago as last October, albeit in a vastly slower time. "She was unknown three weeks ago. Nobody could have anticipated this. We are fast, but we are not a lion."
What had Weiss heard so far? "Personally," he said, his moustache drooping even lower than normal, "I have no clue what is going on. I rely on and trust our doctors."
One thing was made clear: if the tests, whenever they do come out, subsequently show that Semenya cannot legally compete as a woman, she will be stripped of her medal and the placings revised.
The trouble is, those results could be weeks away. From all accounts they are also incredibly complicated and open to various interpretations. In the meantime, Semenya will be under media siege. The most private aspect of her life will be the subject of intense public scrutiny.
"Running is just a game to me," she had said after her semi-final win. Not any more.
On Thursday she is due to be awarded her medal. No-one could blame her if she asked for it to be posted to her instead.http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/tom...randed_by_storm.html
Gender verification in Sports - Wiki:
"Gender verification in sports (also sometimes loosely referred to as sex determination) is the issue of verifying the eligibility of an athlete to compete in a sporting event that is limited to a single gender.
The issue arose a number of times in the Olympic games where it was alleged that male athletes attempted to compete as women in order to win, or that a natural intersex competed as a woman.
Sex testing began at the 1966 European Track and Field Championships in response to suspicion that several of the best women athletes from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were actually men. At the Olympics, testing was introduced at the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble.
While it arose primarily from the Olympic Games, sex determination affects any sporting event. However it appears it most often becomes an issue in elite international competition".http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G...rification_in_sports
Indian runner fails gender test, loses medal.
Indian runner Santhi Soundarajan, who won a silver medal in the women's 800 meters at the Asian Games, failed a gender test.http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/...source=ESPNHeadlines
------------------------------------------------How is gender testing done?Exerpt:
"You can't tell for sure if an athlete is a man or a woman just by glancing at his or her genitalia. That's because some people are born with ambiguous sex organs, and others have a visible anatomy that doesn't match up with their sex chromosomes. Fears that male Olympic athletes might be competing as women led to mandatory physicals for females in the 1960s, which soon gave way to chromosome-based gender testing.
Officials collected mouth scrapings and ran a simple test for the presence of two X chromosomes. The method proved to be unreliable, since it's possible for a biological male to have an extra X chromosome (XXY) or a female to only have one X chromosome".
The gender of an embryo is determined during its early development. If certain sex-determining genes are present, the fetus will develop testes, which in turn produce testosterone.
It's the testosterone that makes the fetus into a boy. The genes that are important for this switch are generally located on the Y chromosome. By the 1992 Winter Games, officials started testing for one of these genes, called SRY—if you had it, you couldn't compete as a woman.
That test didn't work, either. Having the SRY gene material, or even a Y chromosome, doesn't always make you a man. Some people born with a Y chromosome develop all the physical characteristics of a woman except internal female sex organs.
This can result from a defect in one of the genes that allows the body to process testosterone. Someone with this condition (known as "androgen insensitivity syndrome") might be XY, and she might develop testes. But she'll end up a woman, because her body never responds to the testosterone she's producing. Other signs of AIS include hairless genitalia and the absence of menstruation. (There are reports that Soundararajan had "not attained puberty yet.")
Since testosterone helps in building muscle and strength, a case of androgen insensitivity syndrome wouldn't give an XY-female athlete any kind of competitive advantage; if anything, it would be a liability. Seven of the eight women who tested positive for Y-chromosomal material during the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta had some form of AIS. They were allowed to compete.
By the late 1990s, the International Olympic Committee turned to a more comprehensive evaluation by a panel of specialists to account for all these ambiguities. The panel now includes gynecologists, endocrinologists, psychologists, and experts on transgender issues.
The examiners still test for the Y-chromosomal genes; gynecologists perform physical exams; endocrinologists diagnose gene disorders and resulting hormonal conditions; and athletes may be given psychological help to deal with the situation".http://www.slate.com/id/2225810/