Saturday, April 17, 2010

Caster Semenya's Patience Running Out

19 year old South African runner Caster Semenya has patiently waited seven months for her competition status to be sorted out ever since she won the 800m world championship in Berlin last summer.

But it seems that her patience, and the patience of her attorneys is wearing thin.

"I hereby publicly announce my return to athletics competitions," Semenya said in a statement. "I am an athlete first and foremost, and it is vital for my competitiveness, my well-being and my preparations for events during the European summer that I measure my performance against other athletes."

"These processes have dragged on for far too long with no reasonable certainty as to their end."

She wants to return to international competition at a IAAF sanctioned race being contested in Zaragoza, Spain on June 24, the EAA Classic.

The IAAF medical staff has yet to complete the gender verification tests, and the ASA (Athletics South Africa) is uncomfortably caught in the middle along with Semenya until they do. They assert that until those test are completed, she is i9neligible to run either in South Africa or internationally.

Athletics South Africa acting chief Ray Mali asked "for the patience of Semenya and her advisers in the interest of all parties."

But I ask the question, how patient would you be if you were in Semenya's pumps?

She wants to run and get better with the Olympics only two years away and she's being forced to sit on the sidelines until some Monaco based bureaucrats make a decision?

To add to the drama, how patient would you be if your gender identity were subjected to worldwide speculation, attacks and derision while you're waiting for that sporting bureaucratic decision?

And while you're waiting, you sit with the knowledge that your potential competition you destroyed in Berlin are competing and honing their skills against each other.

"Some of the occurrences leading up to and immediately following the Berlin World Championships have infringed on not only my rights as an athlete," she said, "but also my fundamental and human rights, including my rights to dignity and privacy."

It's time for the IAAF medical team to end this, and get off their behinds and complete the medical verification tests as expeditiously as possible.

And after that happens, I'll be rooting for Semenya to kick some butt in every 800m race she runs from now until the Olympic Games in London and beyond.

No comments: