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World champion Caster Semenya uncomfortable with fame

South African athlete Caster Semenya says she isn’t comfortable with her fame since her world championship title was obscured by gender-test revelations.

Semenya won the women’s 800 meters at the world championships in Berlin on Aug. 19.

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“People want to stare at me now. They want to touch me,” Semenya said in an interview published Friday in British newspaper The Guardian. “I’m supposed to be famous but I don’t think I like it so much.”

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is reviewing gender test results to determine whether Semenya is eligible to compete as a woman. The track and field group has refused to confirm or deny Australian media reports that the tests indicate Semenya has both male and female sex organs.

A decision is expected to be announced Nov. 20.

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Semenya, 18, won the 800 world title in a season-best time of 1 minute, 55.45 seconds. Before the final, the IAAF said it had ordered gender tests be conducted on Semenya because of her muscular build and rapid improvement in times.

Besides the international intrigue created by the gender test, the case has also entangled the president of the South African athletics federation, Leonard Chuene. In September, Chuene admitted he lied about his knowledge of gender tests performed on Semenya in South Africa before the worlds. He has since been suspended.

Semenya, however, appears to be happiest when she is training with others at home in South Africa.

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“Everyone just accepts me,” Semenya said in the interview, which will be published in full on Saturday. “They know who I am. I am just Caster to these guys. I feel good with them.”

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Put together by a member of the World-Track and Field Website team members. This is usually done by an in house member with able assistance from someone or an agency reporting from outside.

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