E-Mails Show Officials Covered-Up Athlete's Gender Tests

South Africa’s athletics authority carried out gender tests on the runner Caster Semenya before she traveled to Berlin last month, establishing that she had internal testes but withholding the findings.

According to e-mail exchanges published yesterday, officials at Athletics South Africa (ASA) were aware that a Pretoria clinic had found that Semenya had internal testes and produced abnormal amounts of testosterone for a woman. The matter was raised by Harold Adams, the ASA’s chief medical officer and team doctor, the Mail & Guardian newspaper reported.

Adams suggested that the ASA carry out tests on Semenya, 18, because of her deep voice, muscular body and facial hair in case her gender became a subject of controversy at the world championships. She went on to win gold in the 800 meters.

One advised Adams to begin his own gender tests on Semenya on August 5, ten days before the world championships. It appears that Semenya underwent the tests shortly thereafter.

However, before he had received the clinical report from the Pretoria clinic Adams appears to have suggested keeping the results confidential until the South African team were in Berlin, and only once there to consider what to do about “these issues if they come up.”