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Semenya lauded as questions linger

8/25/2009

JOHANNESBURG -- Looking relaxed but shy and awkward under
the glare of media attention, South African runner Caster Semenya
returned home Tuesday amid questions about her gender after her
stunning 800-meter win at the world championships.

The president of Athletics South Africa, Leonard Chuene, was
defiant and said he had resigned from his seat on the IAAF board to
protest the organization's treatment of Semenya. She is not accused
of trying to cheat, but of perhaps unknowingly having a medical
condition that blurs her gender and gives her an unfair advantage.

"We are not going to allow Europeans to describe and define our
children," he told a news conference, which Semenya attended
although she did not address reporters.

Semenya's victory in Berlin came after world athletics officials
said they were conducting gender tests after questions arose about
her muscular build and deep voice. South Africans have embraced her
achievement despite the questions.

Semenya was greeted warmly at the airport in Johannesburg by
several thousand singing and dancing fans. A homemade poster held
by a fan at the airport declared Semenya "our first lady of
sport."