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Injured Semenya pulls out of Commonwealth Games

Caster Semenya has impressed on her return to athletics after a gender test row.
Caster Semenya has impressed on her return to athletics after a gender test row.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Caster Semenya withdrawn from Commonwealth Games with back injury
  • Gender test row athlete was due to compete in the 800 meters in New Delhi
  • She joins long list of star athletes who have pulled out of the troubled Games

(CNN) -- South Africa's Caster Semenya became the latest high-profile athlete to pull out of the troubled Commonwealth Games, with a back injury cited as she withdrew Tuesday.

Semenya has only just returned to the track after being controversially sidelined for 11 months, having been forced to undergo gender tests after her 800m victory at the world athletics championships in Berlin last year.

The 19-year-old was added to the South Africa squad in August and has scored a series of convincing victories over her specialist distance to serve notice she would be favorite for gold in New Delhi.

But she will not be making the trip after the full extent of her problem became clear.

The statement on the official website of the South Africa Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee confirmed the news.

It would serve no purpose to have an athlete in Delhi who was struggling with any sort of injury
--Shuaib Manjra
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"Team South Africa chief medical officer Shuaib Manjra said the athlete's well-being and health were priorities and while her absence robbed South Africa of a potential gold medallist, he did not want to risk serious injury with the pending 2011 Athletics World Championships and London's 2012 Olympics.

"It would serve no purpose to have an athlete in Delhi who was struggling with any sort of injury that would compromise performance," said Manjra.

But earlier, Semenya's coach Michael Seme had said his athlete would be fit to compete in the Games.

"She had a slight pain in the back, but the issue has been blown slightly out of proportion," Seme told Press Association.

"She's going to be 100% fit. We are training and will be there."

South Africa's men's 800m world champion Mbualeni Mulaudzi is also doubtful with an injury and he would join new world record holder for the distance, David Rudisha of Kenya, on the sidelines.

England's world triple jump champion Phillips Idowu also pulled out last week, worried about security and hygiene issues which have dogged organizers.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, said earlier this year that he would not be going to the Games, robbing them of a star attraction.

They are due to start on Sunday, with most teams having now arrived in India, despite the unfavorable reports.