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Sam backs Semenya

Gideon Sam, the president of South Africa’s Olympic governing body SASCOC, has reacted with concern at rumours around 800 metre sensation Caster Semenya’s gender. Reports today (Wednesday) have suggested that the 18-year-old lighting up the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin might have to undergo a gender test to prove that she is female.

ÔÇ£Caster has unbelievable talent and an athlete we earmarked for big things. We included her on the top tier of OPEX Elite Road to London athletes as we believe she has both the potential and the desire to win a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. We do not normally respond to rumour and gossip, but we feel compelled to say something,” Sam said.

ÔÇ£We have every faith in Athletics South Africa and the team they selected to attend the World Championships in Berlin. We are proud of the fact that we send ‘clean teams’ to global events and we would take strong action against a federation if this didn’t prove to be the case.

ÔÇ£With Caster on the brink of something special, we condemn the way she has been linked with such media speculation and allegation, especially on a day she is to run in the final of her first major world event. It’s the biggest day of her life and we wish her well,ÔÇØ Sam added.

ÔÇ£SASCOC are behind her and in support of her every step of the way. If the IAAF feel they need to give her a gender test, then they must also release the results to allow her to continue her development and put any malicious comment to bed.ÔÇØ