Semenya's lawyers say she was tricked
LONDON -- Caster Semenya's lawyers say she was tricked into speaking to a reporter at The Guardian for a story in the British newspaper.
The 18-year-old South African runner, who won the 800-meter world championship title in August but had her accomplishment overshadowed by gender-test revelations, was quoted throughout in excerpts Friday and the full story published Saturday. The article was accompanied by several recent photographs.
Greg Nott, the managing partner for Dewey & LeBoeuf, issued a statement Saturday saying the quotes were obtained "under false pretenses and in a wrongful and unlawful manner."
The Guardian rejected the claim in a statement Saturday, saying its reporter Don McRae was invited to speak to Semenya by her coach, Michael Seme.
"[Seme] was fully aware that he was writing a feature for the Guardian and suggested that he talk to Ms. Semenya," the newspaper said.
Nott, however, said Semenya had never agreed to be interviewed.
"Our client has instructed us to convey that she continues to refuse to grant any interviews to any persons," Nott said in a statement. "We are instructed by our client that any quotes or information in Mr. McRae's article which are alleged to have been obtained from or attributed to our client have been so obtained under false pretenses and in a wrongful and unlawful manner.
"This is regrettable. This has been conveyed to The Guardian. Our client is considering the legal options available to her."
The Guardian said McRae spoke to Semenya on three different occasions, and that the runner willingly participated in a photo shoot for the newspaper.
The International Association of Athletics Federations is reviewing gender test results to determine whether Semenya is eligible to compete as a woman. The track and field group has refused to confirm or deny Australian media reports that the tests indicate Semenya has both male and female sex organs.
A decision by the IAAF is expected to be announced on Friday.
Semenya easily won the 800 world title in a season's best 1 minute, 55.45 seconds. Before the final in Berlin, the IAAF said it had ordered gender tests because of her muscular build and rapid improvement in times.
Besides the international intrigue created by the gender test, the case also entangled the president of the South African athletics federation, Leonard Chuene. In September, Chuene admitted he lied about his knowledge of gender tests performed on Semenya in South Africa before the world championships. He has since been suspended.
In the article, Semenya she was accepted by her training partners but still a subject of discussion for others.
"It's not so easy. The university is OK, but there is not many other places I can go," Semenya said. "People want to stare at me now. They want to touch me. I'm supposed to be famous but I don't think I like it so much."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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