Caster Semenya. (Pic: Michel Langeveld)
A press conference at which controversial athlete Caster Semenya was expected to announce the results of her gender tests has been cancelled.
The event, which was to be hosted by South Africa’s Minister of Sport and Recreation Makhenkesi Stofile, was embarrassingly cancelled at the last minute, with organisers not giving any reason.
It had been expected that the briefing would announce that 19 year old Semenya had been cleared by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to compete as a woman.
The IAAF, which is believed to have ordered Stofile to cancel the press conference, said in a statement that the Semenya matter had not yet been resolved.
“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,” said IAAF spokesperson Nick Davies said.
“Until then, all parties should refrain from making statements that could only cause unnecessary confusion.”
Semenya’s legal team was also forced to withdraw a statement issued earlier today in which Semenya was quoted as saying: “I am overjoyed at the fact that the medical teams have come to the right conclusion. I look forward to competing over the course of the coming athletics season.”
In March, Semenya accused the IAAF of refusing to release the results of her medical test to her despite numerous requests. She said then that the organisation’s “processes have dragged on for far too long with no reasonable certainty as to their end”.
Semenya came to international prominence after winning gold in the 800 metres at the Berlin Athletics World Championships in August last year. This was in the wake of news that the IAAF would test her to asses if she should compete as a woman.
Leaked test reports from the IAAF apparently suggest that Semenya does not have a womb or ovaries and has internal testes, but the organisation has refused to confirm or deny this.