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Accused champion Semenya not a gender cheat, says manager

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Caster Semenya receives gold medal in ceremony Thursday
  • South African athletics officials rally behind controversial new women's star
  • Semenya scored runaway victory in women's 800 meters title race
  • She ran in the final after ruling body asked for gender test on the teenager
  • The 18-year-old's father also insists that she is female
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(CNN) -- South African athletics officials have rallied behind controversial new running star Caster Semenya, who won the women's world 800 meters title just hours after the sport's governing body asked for the 18-year-old's gender to be verified.

Semenya celebrates her gold, which came just hours after the IAAF called for a gender test on the athlete.

Semenya celebrates her gold, which came just hours after the IAAF called for a gender test on the athlete.

Semenya crushed her rivals by streaking away to secure victory in a time of one minute 55.45 seconds -- the best in the world this year and more than eight seconds quicker than her fastest effort of 2008.

She finished more than two seconds clear of second-placed Kenyan Janeth Jepkosgei, the 2007 champion.

However, the race was run amid controversy following the announcement by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF).
Have your say: What's your opinion on the IAAF's decision?

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 from Berlin on Thursday. "There was no cheating on our part, or even on the part of the athlete."

She said Semenya was not bothered by the questions over her gender and was 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."

Meanwhile, Semenya received her gold medal in the podium ceremony on Thursday, receiving a warm ovation from the crowd in the Berlin Olympic Stadium.

Dressed in the yellow and green track suit of South Africa, Semenya mouthed the words of their national anthem as her country's flag was raised.

Results from the IAAF's planned tests are not expected to be known in the near future.

"The gender verification test is an extremely complex procedure," said IAAF spokesman Nick Davies -- who revealed the question of Semenya's gender was first raised after her astonishing African Junior Championships displays.

"In the case of this athlete, following her breakthrough in the African Junior Championships, the rumors, the gossip were starting to build up," Davies told reporters.

Semenya declined to take part in the scheduled post-race interview, reported South African tabloid Sowetan, and her place was taken by IAAF general secretary Pierre Weiss.

"The investigations will take some days or weeks and I'm not a doctor to give a conclusive answer on her gender. But we know her as a woman," Pierre said.

Athletics South Africa president Leonard Chuene accused South African media of trying to "destroy" Semenya, according to Sowetan -- which described the runner as "our golden girl."

"They have their own agenda and I can tell you that they will not succeed," Chuene said. "This girl has been to African youth championships and other international events, and why was this issue not raised then?

"Why now? Is it because she is not an athlete they were expecting to do well in her maiden appearance in the senior championships?"


Her father Jacob Semenya told the paper before the race that the accusations were unfounded.

"She is my little girl. I raised her and I have never doubted her gender. She is a woman and I can repeat that a million times," he said on Wednesday.

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