Athletics

Semenya briefing canned

2010-06-10 12:51
Caster Semenya (AP)

Johannesburg - Organisers abruptly cancelled a news conference on Thursday with Caster Semenya, the world 800m champion at the centre of a gender dispute. The sport's governing body said her "procedure" had not yet been completed.

Semenya's advisers released a statement on Thursday, just hours before the planned briefing, saying the Johannesburg news conference had been called off. It did not give reasons for the cancellation.

On Wednesday, the advisers said the news conference would address the "outcomes" of the dispute over Semenya's gender verification tests. Also on Wednesday, a South African news channel reported the 19-year-old runner had been cleared to return to action.

But the International Association of Athletics Federations told The Associated Press on Thursday that a decision on Semenya, who has been sidelined from competition for nearly a year, had not yet been reached.

"The Caster Semenya case is being handled jointly by the IAAF and representatives for Semenya in a satisfactory way," IAAF spokesperson Nick Davies said in a statement.

"It is important to note though that the procedure has still not been completed and must therefore remain confidential. The IAAF will only issue an official statement at the end of the process, which is now well under way."

"Until then, all parties should refrain from making statements that could only cause unnecessary confusion," Davies said.

Semenya has not run competitively since winning the 800m title at the world championships last August in Berlin. Her dramatic improvement in times and muscular build led the IAAF to order gender verification tests.

IAAF president Lamine Diack, who is in South Africa for the World Cup, said last month a solution to the controversy would be found "not later than the end of June".

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