THE government has condemned the International Association of Athletics Federations' treatment of South Africa's "golden girl" Caster Semenya.
At a media briefing at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria yesterday, President Jacob Zuma said Sport and Recreation Minister Makhenkesi Stofile had written to the IAAF expressing the government's disappointment at the manner in which the body dealt with rumours that the 800metre gold medalist was not a woman.
"It is one thing to seek to ascertain whether or not an athlete has an unfair advantage over others, but it is another to publicly humiliate an honest, professional and competent athlete.
"We extend our support to Ms Semenya and her family.
"Continue to walk tall Mokgadi, we are proud of you, we love you," Zuma said.
He hosted Semenya, who won the women's world 800metre race, along with Mbulaeni Mulaudzi who won a gold medal in the 800metre men's race, and long jump silver medal winner Khotso Mokoena.
Zuma said the country was especially proud of the world beaters because they all came from humble beginnings.
Earlier, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema lambasted South African whites for not supporting the athletes.
"Where are white South Africans? The only white people here to support our champion are journalists," said Malema at OR Tambo international airport. Malema's sentiments were shared by former ANC Women's League president Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who also decried the absence of whites at the airport.
Athletics South Africa president Leonard Chuene said he resigned from IAAF because "he could not work for an organisation that humiliated one of his own".