Se­menya row goes to UN

SA ath­let­ics boss quits IAAF


THE CASTER Se­menya gen­der row reached fever pitch yes­ter­day as Ath­let­ics South Africa (ASA) boss Leonard Chuene quit the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tion’s (IAAF) coun­cil and South African MPs ac­cused the global body of turn­ing the Polok­wane teenager into a 21st cen­tury Saartjie Baart­man.

In a di­rect ref­er­ence to the 18th cen­tury Khoisan woman, who was pub­licly dis­played naked in Europe be­cause of her un­usual shape so that peo­ple could prod her naked gen­i­tals with their um­brel­las, Par­lia­ment’s sports com­mit­tee chair­man, ANC MP Bu­tana Khom­pela, yes­ter­day ac­cused the IAAF of be­ing sex­ist and racist.

He was echoed by ID leader Pa­tri­cia de Lille.

“Just be­cause she is black and she sur­passed her Euro­pean com­peti­tors, there is all this up­roar,” Khom­pela said. He said the sports com­mit­tee would lodge a com­plaint against the IAAF with the UN over the “gross and se­vere un­der­min­ing” of Se­menya’s rights and pri­vacy.

“There are many fe­male white ath­letes tak­ing part in the com­pe­ti­tion who look like men but there is no up­heaval, they were never sub­jected to such a con­di­tion.”

Yes­ter­day Chuene in­formed the Week­end Ar­gus that he had re­lin­quished his IAAF of­fice to fight the body “tooth and nail” over its de­ci­sion to have the teenager gen­der tested. “It is an in­sult to our coun­try. Are we go­ing to al­low other peo­ple to set the agenda for us as African peo­ple just be­cause we are in Europe? I say no.

“There will be no more tests on this child. No one will touch this child un­til she comes home. There will be no more press re­leases. I want to see the sci­en­tists that can prove that she is not a girl. Chil­dren are not taken to lab­o­ra­to­ries to see what their gen­der is. We look at one place and we know; why must she be sub­jected to this? How you look and be­have is a God-given thing. You do not have a say in that.”

But Nick Davies, IAAF spokesman, said the IAAF was not say­ing Se­menya was guilty of de­ceiv­ing any­one over her gen­der.

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