Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A New Issue in Athletic Competition

An 800-meter race today at the track and field world championships in South Africa has brought with it new problems for the athletic community worldwide. Caster Semenya, an 18 year old female runner from South Africa, crushed her competition by 2.45 seconds, an alarming victory in this rather short race. Following the race, the world track and field federation requested that Semenya be put to a gender test. She has seemingly lived as a female for all of her life, but genetically may not be eligible to race in the female category. The tests are quite extensive and time consuming, so the results will not be ready for quite some time.

Until the tests results are received, the committee is unsure about what to do, but this instance does raise awareness of an issue that may become more prevalent in a culture of increasing gender reassignment. I would guess there will be no gray area if fraud is involved, where people are trying to gain an advantage through said surgeries, but we all can imagine other scenarios that would not be as black and white. It will be interesting to see how the athletic world deals with this and other issues, perhaps setting precidents for how the rest of the world will respond. wrote an informative article about Semenya recentely, that you can find HERE.

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