- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: ATHLETICS: Women's 800 metre world champion Semenya returns home.
- Date: 26th August 2009
- Summary: (NOTE SOME DISRUPTION IN QUALITY ) INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, JOHANNESBURG SOUTH AFRICA (AUGUST 25, 2009) (REUTERS ACCESS ALL) VARIOUS OF WORLD CHAMPION SOUTH AFRCIAN RUNNER CASTER SEMENYA ARRIVING AT THE O.R INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FLANKED BY FAMILY, MEDIA AND SUPPORTERS, WOMEN CARRYING POSTERS SINGING AND DANCING
- Embargoed: 10th September 2009 13:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVAE62XAGN3DDVL9FKB4RIQE9A0O
- Story Text: South Africa's 800m runner Caster Semenya and the rest of the Athletics team arrived at Johannesburg airport on Tuesday morning to a heroes' welcome.
World champion South African runner Caster Semenya, whose victory has been overshadowed by a gender testing row, returned home to a heroine's welcome on Tuesday (August 25).
Furious South Africans have accused the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) of everything from racism to imperialism for ordering the test after her rapid improvement over the last year raised its suspicions.
Semenya, 18, who won the women's world 800 metres title with a crushing performance in Berlin last week, was greeted by thousands of fans at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport.
Some fans held up placards reading "Casterology Science of Running" and "Caster First Lady of Sport".
South Africans have rallied around their star athlete. But the controversy may have also touched a raw nerve in a country where race is still a highly sensitive issue after decades of apartheid, which ended in 1994.
South Africans say Semenya's broad shoulders and imposing musculature are common in women's athletics and she should not be singled out.
Laboratory and genetic testing were introduced at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. There have been other high-profile cases.
Polish sprinter Stanislawa Walasiewicz, who won the women's 100 metres at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, was the most notorious one.
Walasiewicz changed her name to Stella Walsh and moved to the United States where she was shot dead in a robbery attempt in 1980. An autopsy showed she possessed male genitalia.
Indian Santhi Soundarajan was stripped of the Asian Games women's 800 metres silver medal after failing a gender test in Doha in 2006.
She was admitted to hospital in September 2008 following a suicide bid. She later announced she had turned to coaching.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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