The Running Commentary


ASA needs a head check


I am sure that most would agree that the manner in which the ASA has dealt with the Caster Semenya debacle is appalling to say the least.  The woman is now forced into hiding to avoid the media circus around her very personal battle.

All of this could have been avoided upfront had ASA (Athletics South Africa) bothered to do the correct thing and verify Caster’s status before placing her on the world stage. The absolute naivety of them to suggest that because “our constitution does not acknowledge gender verification” that they would have allowed her to run anyway is really concerning.

Phiwe Tsholetsane is reported to say that “our mandate was to come back with medals…how could we not let her run?” What is interesting about this, is that there appears to have been an acknowledgement about her gender issues, but despite this they wanted medals. Is this not the same as allowing an athlete to take drugs to enhance their performance. As I understand the possible issues around Semenya, she would have a significant performance advantage as a result of the additional testosterone she may produce.

The next pearl of wisdom from Phiwe Tsholetsane is probably the most concerning “If there are any other Caster’s out there, we will let them run” Is this to say that despite international competition rules the ASA feel that they are above any scrutiny?

Come now am I seeing the “entitlement culture” coming through once more?

Let’s get the story straight ASA, your first point of reference and concern must be the athlete. If you have any questions about their ability, or lack there of, then you need to investigate. I understand that Caster has had to deal with issues throughout her life, so it must not have been a surprise. The correct, moral and ethical thing to do as ASA would have been to check out Caster and clear her. If there was a doubt then she should never have been put onto the world stage.

I think that the ASA and the people at the helm need to stand up and take some accountability. In fact if I were Semenya and the tests come back to say that I should not have taken part, I would seek legal recourse against ASA.

Caster has been thrust onto the world stage and she must now been enduring absolute hell, my blame for this falls squarely on ASA….

ASAAthletics South AfricaCaster SemenyaMedalsperformanceSouth Africa

Mike • September 15, 2009

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  1. Ian T September 18, 2009 - 2:55 pm

    Possibly your best blog yet !!!!

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