CASTER TO DEFY ASA BAN

AN UGLY legal battle is looming between Caster Semenya and Athletics South Africa after the 800m world champion announced yesterday that she will compete in Spain on June 24.

AN UGLY legal battle is looming between Caster Semenya and Athletics South Africa after the 800m world champion announced yesterday that she will compete in Spain on June 24.

Semenya has been barred by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from competing in official athletics competitions pending the outcome of her gender-verification tests, but the defiant Limpopo runner made it clear yesterday that she will compete at the June event in Zaragoza. The development will put the IAAF under tremendous pressure to complete its tests on time.

If she competes in Zaragona, it will be Semenya's first competition since she won gold at the World Championships in Germany last June, the first black South African woman to achieve this feat.

The international body initially announced that the results would be released last November, but its leaders have since taken a decision not to comment on the case.

Semenya wanted to run in the Yellow Pages Series in Stellenbosch last Tuesday, but was forced to withdraw after ASA said it had endorsed a temporary IAAF ban on the Limpopo runner.

She described ASA's decision to prevent her from competing "as unlawful and wrongful". ASA interim leader Ray Mali has appealed to her to wait until the end of June, by which time they hope the tests will be completed.

Semenya said yesterday that after consulting her medical and legal advisers, family and friends, she had instructed her legal representatives to seek confirmation from the IAAF that it would complete its processes by the beginning of June.

"Together with my coach and agent, I have decided I will return to athletics at the European Athletics Association meeting on June 24 in Zaragoza.

"I reiterate that based on medical and legal advice, I'm of the view there are no impediments to me racing in female athletics competitions."

Mali said: "I have not seen Caster's statement but we have been advised by the IAAF to wait until the process regarding Caster has been finalised."

X