Runner Semenya Glams Up As Mag's Cover Girl

IAAF says there is no danger of taking Caster Semenya's medal.

ByDana Hughes
September 09, 2009, 3:17 PM

NAIROBI, Kenya Sept. 9, 2009— -- Caster Semenya, the South African runner undergoing tests to prove whether she's female, was all woman on the cover of a South African magazine.

YOU magazine gave Semenya a glamorous makeover, putting the 18-year-old 800 meter world champion runner in a dress, heels and make-up. She also models a low-cut sequined top and silver leggings.

"I'd like to dress up more often and wear dresses, but I never get the chance," she tells the magazine. "I'd also like to learn to do my own make-up."

The magazine feature comes just weeks after the International Association of Athletics Federation's world championships in Berlin where Semenya's muscular build, deep voice and tremendous speed caused the organization to ask South African authorities to perform a gender verification test.

Final results of the test are not expected for a few more weeks, but there are reports that preliminary results show her testosterone level to be three times that of a normal woman.

The news of the test was leaked just before Semenya ran the 800-meter race. After handily winning she told reporters, "When I'm racing, I'm thinking about my own race. I'm not thinking about anybody."

South Africans have been outraged at Semenya's treatment by the IAAF and the media. Thousands of South Africans greeted her when she returned home, carrying signs with the slogan "Our 1st Lady of Sport."

South African President Jacob Zuma also spoke out on the controversy, denouncing the way the IAAF handled Semenya's gender test.

"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," Zuma told reporters.

IAAF Says Semenya Will Keep Her Medal

Whether Semenya would get to keep her medal if the tests proved she was infact, scientifically a man, was another controversy. Today Nick Davies spokesman for the IAAF told ABC News that regardless of the test results Caster Semenya would remain the 2009 800-meter World Champion .

"From the beginning of this case...I have said as IAAF spokesman that there should be no assumption that medals would be stripped or results changed for the obvious reason that this is not a doping case, but a medical one," said Davies. "If she is found to have a condition where excessive amounts of testosterone are being produced then she cannot be blamed for what happened before that fact is confirmed."

There have been cases in the past where an athlete's medal has been stripped for failing a gender verification test. Indian runner Santhi Soundarajan was stripped of a silver medal won at the 2006 Asian Games after failing a gender test contesting her eligibility to participate in the women's competition.

Semenya has refused to wade in on the debate, saying that she knows who she is and wants to focus on her training and her studies at Pretoria University.

She tells YOU that she did the shoot for herself and not to prove a point to naysayers. "I don't give a damn what people say about me" Semenya says. " I like me the way I am and who cares what other people say?"

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