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South African Athlete Caster Semenya creates Gender Controversy Storm



Caster SemenyaWhen 18-year old South African athlete Caster Semenya raced to the finish line during the 800 metre race at the IAAF World Championships, not only did she streak far ahead of her competitors to clinch the gold medal, she also created a media storm. Ever since Caster appeared on the international racing scene earlier this year, there have been eyebrows raised over her gender. Caster, her family and the South African Sports Authorities insist that she is female but many around the world are asking questions.

Due to Caster’s distinctively masculine physique; sports fans and competitors are not so convinced that she is female. Even her high school principal admitted that he did not realize that she was female until during the 10th Grade. He stated that for the duration of her stay at the school, she wore the male version of the school uniform.

The IAAF has requested an investigation which is currently ongoing. A team of doctors including an endocrinologist, a gynecologist, an internal medicine expert, an expert on gender and a psychologist are going to investigate the case. Some experts are speculating that Caster has a rare genetic disorder that means she has female genitalia but male chromosomes. This condition, known as intersex, is commonly referred to as hermaphroditism.

If Caster is found to be male or if she has the ‘intersex’ condition, she will be stripped of her gold medal.

It is quite interesting that this story has generated this level of media interest. It seems as though most people have already concluded that she is not ‘female’. Regardless of the result, it must be difficult for an 18-year old to be in the centre of such controversy. Hope she is holding up well.

What do you make of this controversy?

See Cester’s Gold medal winning race below:

Caster Post-Run Interview (Semis):


  1. oops

    August 21, 2009 at 12:03 am

    She won’t be stripped is she is found to be intersex. The determination is ultimately what the athlete identifies herself as, hence it is a complicated decision.


    August 21, 2009 at 12:13 am

    this is very sad! people need to leave her alone. if she is intersex, so what. why should that cost her the gold medal? and if she has female parts will she be allowed to compete in the men’s league? which one do they want her to do?
    this is not right and the media should not be going “goo goo ga ga” over this story.
    no one should have to invade her body and creep and crawl through her, its just bad!
    i wonder what she is going through now that the whole world is watching her and waiting for the results which will soon turn public.
    i feel for this girl, she is under a magnifying glass/microscope.
    so sorry.

  3. Omoge

    August 21, 2009 at 2:05 am

    I think she’s a woman, I’ve seen women built like her…BUT….If she is ORIGINALLY a man, she should be stripped of her medal (sex change or not). The fact is that no amount of sex change can alter one’s internal composition. If she’s created as a man he/she has all the things that come with being a man. Extra strength, enough testosterone etc…Men are created to have a huge physical advantage over women. This is why they have separate competitions.

  4. Sultana

    August 21, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Thank you o! Bella naija should check facts before posting so readers will not be misinformed. She will only be striped if she/he knowly changed sex for the purpose of cheating. Apparently she has lived her life as a woman thats why its complicated.

  5. Mayowa Tekobo

    August 21, 2009 at 3:34 am

    OMG! woww wonders will never end ohh

  6. rizzle

    August 21, 2009 at 6:17 am

    omo- she resemble man sha oh.

  7. Ola

    August 21, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Sounds like one too sha lol.
    The IAFF is very foolish for making such noise about the investigation now – at the world stage. They may have had their suspicions, yes but they shouldn’t have made such a brouhaha about it, and did it QUIETLY! Especially as they brought it up before the final! If the investigation shows she is indeed male, then she gets stripped, simple as, second place becomes first, and so on.

  8. gbeborun

    August 21, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    kai!! i wish i had abs like that men! make dem free d girl abeg!

  9. Kemchi

    August 21, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Yeah I agree with u, and if she really has an underlying male physiology then she has a huge advantage over the ‘real women’ and that’s just unfair. I mean look at the gap at the end, like she was running d race all by herself!

  10. africhika

    August 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    the media can sure be brutal. this is ridiculous. if her family/friends says she’s a girl, what is the problem?

  11. jules

    August 21, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    sorry to inform you if its discovered she is male knowingly or unknowingly she is stripped all the same and hmmm this na man!

  12. tgirl

    August 21, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    I agree that they should not have made this a public issue. This issue involves an 18 year old child male or female. I personally think she might have more male chromosomes than female. If she decided to be become more intune with her femal side just to have an unfair advantage in competitions then that is not appropriate.

  13. marian_o

    August 21, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    She looks and sounds like a man. It’s a difficult choice for parents to make when faced with a baby like this on what exactly to raise the child as, and even more difficult for the child if after 18 years of being a girl, she’s now classified as male.

    Btw, friendly note…it is IAAF, not IAFF.

  14. silva

    August 21, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    omoh nah man be dis oh! una no see im crotch area? d voice sef…

  15. sammy

    August 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    i wish i had abs like that!! tired of my flabs.

  16. Toyosi

    August 21, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Going by your logic Usain Bolt must be tested for superman traits himself afterall it was as if he was running the race all be himself!

  17. Sultana

    August 21, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Jules- how do you know she is a man? This shows your level of ignorance, the people that have interacted with her and seen her physically (IAAF officials) say it is going to be complicated to determine her sex. and you get to know just by looking at your screen?

    Check your facts!

  18. Ola

    August 22, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Yeah thanks for the correction. Why comments cannot be edited I do not know, was a typo.

  19. Tosin

    August 22, 2009 at 8:41 am

    You all have said it all. I guess they have to investigate to keep things formal and all, and if she’s just an androgynous chic then I’m sad for the criticism. People need to get more mature about gender sha.

  20. lilkunta

    August 23, 2009 at 2:33 am

    I am mad at the IAFF for humiliating Caster this way. She is a lady, all her life she has lived as a lady. if they did feel they needed to do an investigation, y not do it THEN announce there results. Caster is 18, this is very humiliating for her.

  21. delores

    August 23, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Base on what I have seen of her, she looked like a guy! But, Who am I to judge her by her looks? I have also known women whose voice sounded like a man.Who remembered Marilyn Neufville, she looked like a woman!

  22. nickey

    August 24, 2009 at 12:04 am

    my point is if she is a woman 100 % she should not hav a problem with doing the test or tests, prove d world wrong

  23. big boy

    August 26, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I have no doubt that she is a he. Caster has too many charastic of a male then female. Only a doctor can make that decision. It only my opin.

  24. lilkunta( reply to big boy)

    August 27, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    @big boy:Y do u ‘have no doubt’ Caster is a male? Have u seen her naked? She doesnt have 2 many male characteristics. An athlete all her life is y her body is as refined & cut & in shape as it is.
    When Caster is reaffirmed as a lady you all owe her & her family a giant apology. & words mean sh*t so send money to help other S Afr children who desire to run competitively.

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