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Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 14:29 UK

Semenya to keep World gold medal

By James Pearce
BBC Sports News Correspondent

Caster Semenya
Semenya was in the form of her life in Berlin in August

Caster Semenya will not be stripped of her World Championships 800m gold medal whatever the outcome of her gender test results, BBC Sport understands.

The testing process is unlikely to be concluded for two weeks but the IAAF - the governing body of world athletics - says Semenya can keep her medal.

The 18-year-old South African was asked to take the test following her rapid rise to prominence in 2009.

News of it was made public hours before she took gold in Berlin in August.

Despite the leak, the teenager left her rivals trailing to win in a time of one minute, 55.45 seconds.

Defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya was second, a massive 2.45 seconds adrift, with Britain's Jenny Meadows taking bronze.

The International Association of Athletics Federations says it demanded Semenya take a gender test before the World Championships amid fears she should not be able to run as a woman.

Following the findings of initial tests, the IAAF then asked the South Africans to withdraw her from their team for Germany.

However, the South African athletics federation insisted she should run and says it is certain she is female, a claim backed up by her family.

Now, given that she was ultimately allowed to compete, IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said it would be "legally very difficult" to ask Semenya to hand back her medal.

No final decision is expected in her case until later this autumn, it was announced on Thursday.

Pierre Weiss, secretary-general of the IAAF, said: "It will in principle come before the executive council which meets on 20-21 November 20-21. There'll be nothing before that."

Semenya burst on to the world stage when she ran 1.56.72 in Bambous, Mauritius, in July, smashing her previous personal best by more than seven seconds.

She also broke Zola Budd's long-standing South African record and arrived in Berlin as the newly crowned African junior champion.

Jenny Meadows (far left) trails winner Caster Semenya (second from left)

Caster Semenya wins 800m gold in Berlin

see also
Makeover for SA gender-row runner
08 Sep 09 |  Africa
New twist in Semenya gender saga
25 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Crowds greet gender-test athlete
25 Aug 09 |  Africa
Birth certificate backs SA gender
21 Aug 09 |  Africa
The complexities of sexual identity
21 Aug 09 |  Health
Semenya dismissive of gender row
21 Aug 09 |  Athletics
SA fury over athlete gender test
20 Aug 09 |  Africa
South Africa fury at Semenya perception
20 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Meadows surges to bronze in 800m
20 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Semenya told to take gender test
19 Aug 09 |  Athletics

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