Caster 'had medical help'

2010-07-07 22:38
Caster Semenya (AFP)
Wilhelm de Swardt

Pretoria – Caster Semenya has been undergoing medical treatment for the past few months and that is why she is now being allowed to compete as a female athlete.

Marius van der Watt, a South African coach, said on Wednesday that a high-ranking Athletics South Africa (ASA) official had informed him of this.

Richard Stander, administrative head of ASA, did not want to confirm or deny the medical treatment. He said that it has “nothing to do with you”. “Leave the poor girl alone.”

Local athletics coaches said on Wednesday that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had erred by not revealing the treatment.

They say that they now hear that Caster may participate, but no explanation is forthcoming about what has changed over the last 11 months and brought about the IAAF’s change of heart.

The Daily Telegraph in Britain reports that the fact that Semenya may now participate as a woman, points to the treatment being successful.

It is suspected that as long as Semenya participates in athletics, her condition will be monitored by experts to ensure she does not have an unfair advantage.

Athletes said on Wednesday they were curious what Semenya’s times would be now that she has had hormonal treatment.

Local coaches are divided about Semenya’s re-entry into athletics.

Coach Jean Verster said he accepted that athletes were relieved to finally know what the situation is with Semenya.

“The past 11 months were confusing for all of us as nobody had an idea of what was going on. This gave rise to all sorts of rumours,” he said.

“Now that the IAAF has finally announced that they are happy she is a woman, we know where we stand.

“My only question is why Caster did not receive the treatment prior to the meeting in Berlin. It would definitely have saved her and the entire South Africa huge embarrassment.”

Van der Watt is excited about Semenya’s return.

“She can definitely help my athlete, Anuschka Nice, to run better times. But then I can’t help but wonder whether the hormonal treatment will impact on Caster’s performances.”

Jenny Meadows, a bronze medal winner in the 800m at the world meeting in Berlin where Semenya won, told the Daily Telegraph that she was not surprised by the IAAF’s decision.

“I always knew Caster would participate again,” she said.

“The IAAF makes the rules and we have to accept she is a woman. I only hope that the IAAF genuinely has her interests at heart, as well as those of the woman athletes that have to compete against her.

“I’m just as curious as everyone else to see what will happen when Caster participates for the first time.”

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