Tests: Is running champion a man or a woman? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Tests: Is running champion a man or a woman?

BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- Athletics officials on Thursday awaited test results to determine whether the winner of the women's 800-meter world championships is a man or a woman.

Eighteen-year-old Caster Semenya of South Africa won the women's 800-meters gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday. She crushed her rivals by streaking away to secure victory in 1 minute, 55.45 seconds -- the best time in the world this year.

Defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya took the silver and Jennifer Meadows of Britain claimed bronze.

However, the race was run amid controversy after the sport's governing body, the International Amateur Athletics Federation, said it was seeking tests on Semenya's gender.

"The gender verification test is an extremely complex procedure," federation spokesman Nick Davies told reporters Wednesday.

He said the question of Semenya's gender was first raised after her astonishing displays at the African junior championships last month.

"In the case of this athlete, following her breakthrough in the African junior championships, the rumors, the gossip were starting to build up," Davies said.

Semenya's masculine build fueled rumors, but the South Africa team manager said there should be no dispute.

"Even the ID that she has, the passport, says she is a female," Phiwe Mlangeni-Tsholetsane told CNN by phone Thursday from Berlin. "There was no cheating on our part, or even on the part of the athlete."

She said Semenya is not bothered by the questions over her gender and is simply focusing on improving her times.

"If there are tests being done, we accept that. We can't stop that," Mlangeni-Tsholetsane said. "We have nothing to hide."

There have been precedents in such cases. The most famous is that of Polish athlete Stella Walsh, who won Olympic gold in the 100 yards in 1932 and silver in the same event in 1936.

After she was shot dead in an armed robbery in 1980, an autopsy revealed that she possessed male genitalia, though she had female characteristics as well.

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta
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