South African official returns to IAAF board to help fight for Semenya

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's top track official is returning to the international athletics body's board, saying Sunday he was needed to fight from the inside for a world champion runner whose sex has been questioned.
Athletics South Africa announced that its president, Leonard Chuene, was rejoining the board of the International Association of Athletics Federations, which Chuene has accused of humiliating runner Caster Semenya and violating its own privacy rules in its handling of her case.
The decision indicates at least a detente in strained relations between ASA and the IAAF, which could make it easier for both sides to take whatever step is next. The IAAF would have to work through Chuene's group to contact the 18-year-old Semenya about the results of her tests.
The IAAF ordered sex tests on the women's world 800-metre champion, saying questions had been raised about her muscular physique, running style and recent stunning improvement in times.
It has refused to confirm or deny Australian media reports last week that Semenya has both male and female characteristics, saying it is reviewing test results and will issue a final decision in November on whether Semenya will be allowed to continue to compete in women's events.
Semenya won the 800 at the world championships in Berlin on Aug. 19 in one minute 55.45 seconds in Berlin, 2.45 seconds ahead of her closest competitor. It was a world best this year.
Chuene left the IAAF board shortly after it announced in August it had ordered sex tests on Semenya. In an interview Sunday, Chuene told The Associated Press: "I took the (initial) decision as an individual, emotionally."
He said that during a special Athletics South Africa meeting Saturday in Pretoria, other officials said he had a duty to represent both South Africa and Africa on the IAAF board.
"They still want to see me contributing," he said. "I can make a contribution inside" on Semenya's case.
In a statement Sunday, ASA officials said they had instructed Chuene "to withdraw his resignation from the Council of the IAAF and resume his responsibilities as mandated by Athletics South Africa ... and the Confederation of African Athletics."
ASA also commended Chuene, saying he has handled the Semenya "matter exceptionally well." In contrast, it accused the IAAF of failing "to observe the confidentiality required to handle the matter of this sensitivity" and called on the international body to apologize to Semenya, "her family and the people of South Africa."
ASA appointed a scientific and legal panel to work with the IAAF on the Semenya case.

Organizations: International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF board, The Associated Press Council of the IAAF

Geographic location: South Africa, JOHANNESBURG, Berlin Pretoria Africa

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