Mandela meets runner at center of gender uproar

JOHANNESBURG – Former President Nelson Mandelahas congratulated South African runner Caster Semenya, whose dramatic improvement, deep voice and muscular build have sparked questions about her gender.

The International Association of Athletics Federations initiated tests on the 18-year-old athlete after she won gold in the 800 meters at the world championships in Germany last week.

South Africans have rallied behind Semenya, who returned home to a hero’s welcome Tuesday.

Semenya and two other medalists met briefly with Mandela in Johannesburg Wednesday. They posed for pictures with Mandela, who turned 91 last month.

Semenya said that she had wanted to meet Mandela for a long time and that she couldn’t wait to tell her father about the visit.