Mandela hails athletics heroes

MAGIC MOMENT: Nelson Mandela yesterday congratulated South Africa's athletes who won medals at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin. The men's and women's 800m goldmedallists, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Caster Semenya, and long jump silver medallist Khotso Mokoena with Mandela in Houghton, Johannesburg. Pic: JOHN HOGG/THE NELSON MANDELA FOUNDATION
MAGIC MOMENT: Nelson Mandela yesterday congratulated South Africa's athletes who won medals at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin. The men's and women's 800m goldmedallists, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Caster Semenya, and long jump silver medallist Khotso Mokoena with Mandela in Houghton, Johannesburg. Pic: JOHN HOGG/THE NELSON MANDELA FOUNDATION

FORMER president Nelson Mandela has congratulated runner Caster Semenya, whose dramatic improvement, deep voice and muscular build have sparked questions about her gender.

FORMER president Nelson Mandela has congratulated runner Caster Semenya, whose dramatic improvement, deep voice and muscular build have sparked questions about her gender.

The International Amateur Athletics Federation initiated tests on the 18-year-old athlete after she won gold in the 800m at the world championships in Germany last week.

South Africans have rallied behind Semenya, who returned home to a hero's welcome on Tuesday.

Semenya and two other medalists met briefly with Mandela in Johannesburg yesterday. They posed for pictures with Mandela, who turned 91 last month.

Semenya said that she had wanted to meet Mandela for a long time and that she couldn't wait to tell her father about the visit. - Sapa-AFP

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